Surgery provides opportunity to build on 45 years of love – Breast Cancer Survivor Frances

FrancesBreastCancerSurvivorFrances Bustamante and her husband didn’t expect to spend their 45th wedding anniversary at Tucson Medical Center.

But it was also somehow fitting as well for the sweethearts who have been together since their days at Sunnyside High School: The lumpectomy that would remove breast cancer tissue would also help ensure the two have many more years together.

“I’m sure it saved my life,” said Frances, 64. “I’m lucky. I am really, really lucky and I am very aware of that.”

Fortunately, the South Side resident is a believer in preventive care. Her first cousin died of breast cancer in her 30s, the mother of an infant. The two were close, and the loss left a stamp. Aunts on both her maternal and paternal sides have survived breast cancer, so she knows the value of finding problems early.

Frances #breastcancer #survivorFrances has had call backs before on mammograms, since she has fibrous tissues, so she wasn’t particularly worried when she received the call for more images. This time, though, the images showed calcification that appeared to be a precursor to cancer. A biopsy confirmed it.

She credits staff at the TMC for Women Breast Center with being welcoming and friendly. A staff member kept her hand on Bustamante’s shoulder during the biopsy, which she found a soothing and compassionate gesture.

She said she found it comforting to know that technology now allows clinical staff to leave a marker or clip on the site of the biopsy, which gives a clear target for the surgeon, no matter if the initial site changes somewhat as it heals. The Center also provides wire localization, in which clinical staff using mammogram or ultrasound guidance, insert a wire as a guide to tissue that needs to be removed. This guides surgeons to the exact area and depth of the abnormality.

#breastcancer #survivor #TMCforWomenFrances’ outpatient surgery similarly went well, she said. “All in all, it was a good experience. I didn’t have any problems at all.”

And that’s a good thing, since she jokes she’s busier now in retirement than she was as a full-time office assistant. She splits her time between her 94-year-old father, who is still going strong, and her three grandchildren and the family pets. This year, she’ll be volunteering at their school library and helping students with literacy issues learn to read, while squeezing in a little time for her creative outlets of scrapbooking, needlepoint and making hand-made cards.

“I know there are no guarantees in life. Even though it’s gone, I could get it again, I suppose, but we’ll deal with it if that time comes. The important thing now is that I’m going to be here for the people I love.”

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