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A Brave Woman
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Ye Danyang is a 40-year-old reporter with Beijing Television (BTV). She was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2002 and received a quadrantectomy. After the operation, Ye established China's first website for breast cancer rehabilitation. She also filmed her medical checkups, chemotherapy and subsequent experiences, as well as those of other breast cancer patients, producing the first breast cancer documentary in China, Care for the Breast, which has had a great impact on the society.

How does a woman feel after losing her breasts? Her story below is of a woman, not yet 40 years old, who developed breast cancer. The story narrates what she suffered when she was forced to have her breasts removed.

Bad News in My Chinese Zodiac Year

I felt something was wrong in October 2001 when I suddenly discovered a hard lump on my left breast. I went to the hospital and the doctor said, not a big deal, just hyperplasia. Overwhelmed by work at the office and at home, I then forgot about it.

Then I went to see an expert when I had more free time in March 2002. She said I had to have surgery immediately, for a benign tumor could turn into a malignant tumor if it lingered for a long time, and it was better to have it surgically removed. The so-called malignant tumor refers to cancer.

I could lose one of my breasts due to the cancer, and it was suggested I had perhaps only 10 years to live, or even a shorter time.

This was also my animal year in the Chinese zodiac (every 12 years).

My husband was near terrified by these horrible possibilities. He stood by me and took my nuclear scans to various hospitals in Beijing. He refused to trust all those doctors, no matter renowned or not, as their diagnosis was exactly what my husband was afraid to hear. Waiting for the right time, he then lay me down on the big bed and carefully told me what the doctors had said. He also told me about all the possible trauma I might have to go through, fearing I would also be frightened.

I had always been affected by minor ailments, yet seldom attacked by anything major. As an energetic person, I used to stay up late. It felt what had happened to me could not be true, and it seemed so dramatic.

Two teardrops rolled down my face while I lay on the bed, silently. It will be better for you if I died, then you could find a new wife. She will definitely treat you better and you will be able to enjoy life. But what about our son? No one will love him better. If I cannot take care of him, at least I should leave him some money. But I will able to do nothing after this affliction; good heavens, where will I get the money from??I said to my husband, mercilessly.

It sounds so funny when I recall it all now. At the moment I thought I had developed cancer, what I wanted most was money, to be useful to my son after I died.

I got an idea, I could sell my organs for money.... Yet no one will choose my organs, as I am a cancer patient.... I could also donate my body for medical research? No, no donation, just sell.... There are so many people in China and many people die, who will care about my body ... can you ask for help from doctors??Imagining I would be a useless person, I felt great despair as I lay in the arms of my husband, murmuring to myself. My husband did not utter a word. Like all ordinary women, though not extraordinary, we still hope for a remarkable miracle to make our lives more vivid and colorful. The remarkable event really occurred, but an appalling one, shattering my many-splendored life.

If my life was a drama, then it was definitely now a tragedy. I could not find a proper way to deal with this sudden change. I was at a complete loss, yet not feeling too much sadness. Anyway, I would not die immediately. I still had time to prepare for that doomsday.

Up until the surgery began, I did not yet start crying.

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