A battle against breast cancer

audrey finishing raceName: Audrey Mangel

Age: 76

Year battling breast cancer: 1981

Occupation: Happily retired

How did you find out that you had breast cancer?

Audrey: It all happened so fast. One night I felt a lump on my breast and that very next morning I was in the doctor’s office getting tested.

What were your first thoughts once you were diagnosed?

Audrey: When I first was officially told that I had breast cancer I was in complete disbelief. All I could think about was that it couldn’t happen to me. There was just no way. There was no family history at all and it really took me by surprise.

What was the hardest part about battling breast cancer?

Audrey: The hardest part aside from all the treatments, was not knowing if the cancer was going to come back. The idea of having to go through it all again was not easy. As the years have gone on it’s gotten easier to cope with the idea of it coming back. You just have to make the most of every day!  Another big struggle was the realization of likely losing a breast.  Back in 1981 they didn’t have a lot of alternative options like they do in today’s modern healthcare. A mastectomy was the only option.

How did you manage to stay positive during the tough times?

Audrey: My support was absolutely wonderful! They were there for me every step of the way. Friends, family and of course my loving husband of 56 years, Warren.

Were there any specific moments that stand out that you remember the most?

Audrey: A very specific moment stands out that I still think about to this day. Two days after my mastectomy I was lying in bed feeling depressed about my new image. The doctor came in to check up on me and noticed I was upset. He asked if it would be alright if a lady from the Reach to Recovery Program could come and visit with me. I agreed and later that day I was surprised when a very attractive stranger came in to see me. She was beaming with happiness and looked fabulous. I was completely shocked when she told me that she too had a mastectomy. You couldn’t even tell she had any kind of surgery! Ever since that visit I have never once been upset about the aftermath of my surgery. She really proved that you can always be beautiful.

 What did you do once you found out you were cancer-free?

Audrey: Our children sent us on a trip to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary!

audrey cancer 2Any advice for women currently battling breast cancer?

Audrey: Be sure and perform self-mammograms regularly. If you feel a lump of any kind go straight to your doctor. It is not something to avoid. Stay positive and keep on fighting! Stand up to breast cancer and make a difference in the world.

How has life changed since?

Audrey: Life has been wonderful since then! You just have to enjoy every day and be thankful for all of the little things that life has to offer.

Stand up to breast cancer

About 210,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. The breast is the most common site in cancer for women. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Mammograms really can save lives! They show changes in breasts up to two years before a patient or physician can even feel them. Do your part and show support for National Breast Cancer Awareness month and spread love to everyone battling. Together we all can make a Mighty difference and take control of breast cancer.


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