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Old 12-27-2008, 10:54 PM   #1
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Smile Woman says God sent dream to save her

By Sue Nowicki
snowicki@modbee.com

last updated: December 26, 2008 01:34:58 AM

When Anne Abruzzini of Turlock had a dream in August 1997, she had no idea it would save her life.

"I was dreaming, and I knew I was dreaming," she said. "I was seeing this woman in medical clothing with brownish- blond hair. I was telling her I had a pain in my breast. I didn't in real life, and I'm thinking, it's silly of me to be dreaming this. At the same time, I thought, this woman doesn't look anything like my girlfriends who are nurses, so why am I dreaming this?"

Then she woke up.

"It was Sunday morning and we were to go to church, and I shared my dream with my husband," she said. "He reached over and felt a lump. I had no idea it was there."

The next day, she was in her gynecologist's office. He referred her to a surgeon, who saw her at the last appointment that Friday.

"I know the surgeon was tired and had been quite busy that day," Abruzzini said. "He wanted to let this go, and I pressed him for a biopsy. He did a biopsy in his office that evening. When I came back into the room for the results, he told me I had

Stage 3 cancer. It was a fairly large tumor. He wanted to do surgery within a couple of days. I said I wanted a second opinion."

The surgeon sent her to an oncologist. She went to the appointment with her husband, Michael.

"He was professional and answered all my questions," Abruzzini said. "After he left, my husband said, 'He seems pretty good.'

I said, 'I don't think he's the one for me.' My husband asked why. I said, 'If I'm going to die from cancer, I want someone who cares. Even if they can't save me, I want someone with compassion.' "

So she talked with a girlfriend who also was fighting cancer.

"I had been supporting her, not realizing I had cancer myself," Abruzzini said. "She referred me to her oncologist in the Bay Area."

The local medical experts had wanted her to have a complete mastectomy -- removal of both breasts -- plus aggressive and extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments after surgery.

"I preferred a more conservative therapy: less chemo and removing the lump to start with," Abruzzini said. "I think I had more courage because of the dream and feeling that I was watched over by God. When I told that to the oncologist, he asked if I would mind him referring me to a colleague, a surgeon over at (University of California at San Francisco). I said that would be fine."

The surgeon was able to work her in that day so she and her husband wouldn't have to make another trip.

When Dr. Laura Esserman walked into the room, "I was shocked," Abruzzini said. "There was the woman in my dream. It was so vivid, the feeling of déjà vu, that I told her about seeing her in my dream, and that this was where I was supposed to be.

"I asked her if she had faith in God. She said she believed me, that these things happened, and she did believe in God. I felt someone who had faith would care. That needed to be No. 1. Next would be, of course, medical training and skills, and she had gone to Harvard and Stanford and was in charge of all the surgeons, male and female, there. And third, bedside manner, and she had a wonderful bedside manner.

"Laura Esserman saved my life."

Pain puts focus on God

Abruzzini had three rounds of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, followed by the lumpectomy, which was done between Christmas and New Year's in 1997.

"They didn't quite get all the cancer, so they had to do a second surgery to get 'clear margins' in January (1998)," she said. "They even had to scrape cancer off the chest walls; that's how deep it was. But she stretched herself as a surgeon to save my breasts. She realized how important that was to a woman. I never did have to have reconstructive surgery."

http://www.modbee.com/local/story/544774.html
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Old 12-28-2008, 04:16 PM   #2
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