A year ago, when she was 36, Julie Blackman felt a lump in her breast. She went to the doctor, but wasn’t even thinking of cancer. It was. First in a three-day series in which area women describe their battle with breast cancer.

First in a three-day series to conclude Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Local women describe their battle with breast cancer.


Click to read our special report on breast cancer

My name is Julie Blackman. I am 36 years old. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on Aug. 18, 2008.

I felt a lump in my breast in July 2008. I had my doctor feel to see what he thought it might be. I wasn’t even thinking of cancer.

My doctor had ordered a mammogram and a ultrasound on 8/08/08. I was thinking to myself at the time, “This is a lucky day.” I had read about 8/8/08 being a popular day to get married.

I went in to to get my mammogram and ultrasound and felt good because I felt maybe today I will be lucky and my tests will prove that I don’t have cancer and it’s maybe a cyst.

The mammogram didn’t show anything. The ultrasound showed an unusual pattern which didn’t seem normal to the technician. The unusual area was on my right breast. The doctor came into the room and ordered a needle biopsy. They numbed my right breast and in went the needle to take a sample of the tissue. The biopsy was quite painful. I was in pain for the whole weekend.

The following week, I got a letter in the mail that said if I didn’t already have a doctor’s appointment to make one. I had an appointment for Aug. 20 but switched it to Aug. 18.

I went into the room at my doctor’s office and waited. My doctor came in the room and I asked him my test results. He told me I have breast cancer. I asked if he was joking. He said, “Why would I joke about that?”

I started to cry. I am only 36 years old. I thought I ate well and took care of myself. Why would this happen to me?

I had to see a surgeon and an oncologist. I had a lumpectomy done on my right breast in September of 2008. I was lucky the tumor wasn’t that big. One lymph node had cancer. I saw my oncologist and he told me my treatments.

I ended up doing a total of six chemotherapy treatments with a total of three chemotherapy drugs each time.

I went to my oncologist’s office to get my chemotherapy. I did a total of 33 radiation treatments in Brockton. I had really bad side effects during my chemotherapy. I found out my cancer is in Stage 2A.

I have a good outlook. I started the drug tamoxifen. I have to take this for the next five years.

I feel so lucky to be alive. I look at life so differently now. In one instant, my life was changed forever. I was lucky for my support of my family and friends.

The American Cancer Society has been great. They are very helpful.