Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Thank you very much for your time. Can you share with me the beginning of your journey, when you were first diagnosed with breast cancer as well as a little bit about your life leading up to that moment?
Shondia Sabari (SS): Thank you. Prior to me being diagnosed with breast cancer, everything was great in my life. My husband had recently deployed from Iraq, my children were doing well in school and also their extra-curricular activities. What’s so surprising about the diagnosis is that I didn’t have any symptoms. I had nothing to suggest any signs of breast cancer.
I remember it very well. It was in December of last year, and it was on a Thursday. I was getting dressed to go to the dollar store. I was putting on my boots, and I was actually putting on my left boot; that’s just how well I remember it. I didn’t hear any voices or see any shadows, but a thought entered my mind. It was just a thought that, “you need to get a mammogram”. I just kind of looked up, because I had never experienced anything like that before. As I mentioned before, I didn’t feel anything come over me. It was just like we’re on the phone and you tell me, “I think I hear someone at the door”. You know how we have those thoughts.
I just pondered for a minute, and then I continued to put on my boots and I got in the car. I actually had a cousin in town visiting me from South Carolina, and she rode with me to the dollar store. While we were riding I shared with her that I had a thought while I was getting ready to go get a mammogram. She asked me, “What are you going to do”? I said, “I’m going to go and get one”(laughs).
So that very next day I already had an appointment scheduled with my OBGYN for a checkup, and I mentioned to her that I wanted to get a mammogram. She asked me, “Did you check yourself”? I said, “Yes, I did”. She checked and she didn’t feel anything, and she said, “Let’s go ahead and do the mammogram”. She put me in for the mammogram that day. She sent me to a facility that she sends her patients to for mammograms. A week later I received a letter in the mail that there were calcifications and changes in tissue that showed up on the mammogram, and that I needed to come in for a repeat and it was probably nothing to be concerned about. I called and scheduled my appointment for that very next week.