Wendy Saltzman shares story of breast cancer fight

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ByBrian Taff via WPVI logo
Friday, March 3, 2017
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Several weeks ago, Investigative Reporter Wendy Saltzman disclosed she has breast cancer.

Several weeks ago, Investigative Reporter Wendy Saltzman disclosed she has breast cancer.

Wendy has heard thousands of voices of support, and as she embarks on the next phase of her journey to wellness, she wanted to talk about her experience, so far, hoping it may help somebody.

"When you hear the word cancer, it's devastating," Wendy said.

The word came by way of a phone call back on Dec. 22, three days before Christmas and just days after a doctor's appointment she considered routine.

It turns out there was nothing routine about that appointment. Nor was there anything routine about a similar appointment she had a year-and-a-half before that.

Back in 2015, a mammogram first revealed an area of concern in one of Wendy's breasts.

"And I thought, it's nothing. And we live busy lives, and so I ignored it," she said.

For a year-and-a-half, she ignored it, doing what many would have, assuming that with no family history of cancer, that spot that raised a doctor's eyebrow was something else, anything else - just not cancer.

"It's amazing the way that we can almost think that we're superhuman. And we think, 'I'm too healthy,' " Wendy said.

A thought that sustained her until another doctor eventually urged her to do a follow-up.

Another mammogram, another eyebrow raised.

"And she compared the films and she said, 'I think what we see is growing,' " Wendy said.

What that radiologist saw, doctors would soon determine was cancer.

"I was angry. I was angry at the world. And I didn't understand why it happened to me. So I spent about a month being sad, and just dealing, and just getting used to the idea," Wendy said. " And it's a hard idea to get used to."

But cancer affords no one the luxury of time to grow accustomed to it. And Wendy, ever the investigative reporter, then set about digging for answers, determining treatment, coming to terms with the reality that, to beat back her specific disease, she would need to undergo a double mastectomy, removing both breasts.

"It's going to be tough to look down and not see me anymore, but it's a choice I've made, and I think it's the right decision," she said.

And one, believe it or not, she arrived at rather easily when faced with alternatives that could have left her with greater odds for a recurrence, or slimmer odds to one day have a family.

It's a decision she wishes she did not have to make, and wants to make sure other women don't either.

"To me, what I feel is important to tell other women is, no matter how healthy you think you are, you need to go get checked," Wendy said.

For now, Wendy is looking ahead to life after cancer.

"Because the other thing is that after the surgery, hopefully I'll never have to think about this again. Hopefully, I will be done, and I'll be a survivor, and I'll be able to appreciate life a little bit more, because I know that I survived this."