I was diagnosed at age 37.
I first felt pain in my breast and then realized there was a lump in the same area, so I set an appointment with my primary physician to have it checked
out. My doctor sent me to have a mammogram and breast ultrasound, neither of which detected the lump, but it was still very painful to touch. My doctor
told me that if it is painful, it’s not cancer. He sent me to see a breast surgeon for peace of mind. She conducted her own ultrasound in the office and she
did see the lump. She told me to give her a few days to think about what she wanted to do.
Three days later I got a call from the nurse saying the doctor wanted to leave the lump as is and look at it again in three months. Of course I wasn’t happy with that diagnosis and insisted that they take it out. I was scheduled for a lumpectomy and when the results came back it was pure disbelief. I had stage 3 DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) breast cancer.
I spoke with the doctor to see what my options were. She suggested radiation and medication – Tamoxifen – because I was ER positive. But first she said I
needed another lumpectomy to make sure they had gotten all the cancer out.
After my second surgery it was determined that the cancer was in my entire left breast and that I needed to have it removed. I immediately asked, “What
about the right breast?” I was told that if I kept it, I would need to continue having mammograms and possibly additional biopsies. Without hesitating, I
instructed them to take them both out! I had a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. In total I had undergone six surgeries.
Throughout the whole process my family and closest friends were, and still are, my support system. I am a single parent. My daughter was 12 years old
when I was diagnosed and of course she was my biggest concern. When I told her that I had cancer she had two questions: She asked if I was going to lose
my hair. “No,” I said. She asked if I was going to die. “Not if I can help it,” I told her.
I will be 14 years cancer free on May 24, 2021. I wanted to share my journey to let women know that breast cancer is not always a death sentence. In
closing, I never asked “Why me?” Instead, I said, “Thank you,” because having breast cancer and beating it only showed me my strengths and none of