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September 2014

22

Terri Enghofer Writes Memoir: A Lump in the Road

During a routine annual mammogram, a microscopic shadow was detected—a shadow that couldn’t be denied or ignored. A biopsy followed, and the formal diagnosis was that I had Stage I Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) breast cancer. IDC is the most common form of breast cancer, accounting for about 80 percent of cases. As ordinary and common as my type of cancer was, there's really no preparation for hearing the words, "You've got cancer."

More than once the medical professionals assigned to my case referred to my tumor as “tiny . . . almost not a tumor at all.” Despite my lump’s apparent unimpressive size and ferocity, it had a bowling ball-sized impact on my life. The standard treatment plan for my Stage I IDC tumor was surgery (lumpectomy), radiation (33 treatments) and drug therapy (5 years). Thankfully, I was spared chemotherapy, as my cancer hadn’t metastasized (spread) to any surrounding areas of my body. Early detection may have played a part in the containment of my “tiny tumor.”

Maintaining sanity and grace while integrating the demands of fighting cancer into my everyday life was a challenge, and not one that was or is exclusive to me. Hundreds of women throughout our community and the miles that stretch to all points of our state and beyond face this same kind of challenge. Ordinary women, just like me. Living ordinary lives, just like mine. My cancer was not unique, and that is precisely why I felt compelled to share my story with others through the writing of my memoir, A Lump in the Road. Cancer at any level, (even ordinary, common, tiny-tumor cancer), needs a spotlight, before complacency and acceptance begin to replace awareness and action.

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 1 in 8 (12%) of women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. Cancer isn’t happening to everyone else. It’s happening to us. Glossy magazines fill our newsstands, raising up our celebrities as they publicly and heroically (in impeccable hair, makeup and designer gowns) battle their cancer, but the reality I wish to share is that EVERY woman who walks out of a medical facility with the words “You’ve got cancer” ringing in her ears is a hero. Mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, neighbors, co-workers, volunteers, ordinary women . . . extraordinary heroes.

A Lump in the Road is a candid and authentic accounting of my cancer experience, told from my eyes and from the depths of my heart. There's no tiptoeing around delicate issues or hiding my emotions. My vulnerability is fully exposed throughout the pages, void of guilt or shame, often expressed with an honest and edgy sense of humor. My book speaks to anyone who has ever felt alone, angry, doubtful, guilty, frightened or powerless under the weight of adversity. One breath beyond the initial sting of coming face to face with that adversity lays hope. Staring down fear is the first step toward healing. Believing with confidence that you are more prepared than you realize, is the next.

Look for A Lump in the Road on amazon.com (ebook or paperback), or contact me at terrienghofer@aol.com to purchase a signed edition.


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