Breast Cancer Survivor
I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on September 12, 2008 and I found the lump myself; I was putting on a bathing suit while I was on vacation. I was adjusting my bathing suit straps and I kept feeling a bump on my skin. I know it sounds odd, but I knew right then and there that I had breast cancer.
I came home and saw my doctor the very next day. She got me scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound within 2 days. Things were clearly “suspicious” as it was recommended that I get a biopsy done ASAP. I cried and cried and refused to leave. Luckily, a doctor was found and my biopsy was done that same day (I couldn’t take any pain pills as I had to drive myself home!)
Within 2 days, it was confirmed. I had breast cancer. I was shocked but I was not going to die. I was going to fight with every ounce of my being. The following week I met with my breast surgeon and scheduled surgery for the following week. It went well, but we didn’t get clear margins. In the meantime, I learned that my lump was bigger than expected (6 cm) and that it had gone to my lymph nodes. Stage 3 breast cancer and my doctor warned me that my breast was going to be severely deformed. Surprisingly, I wasn’t upset when I heard this. I can live without these breasts. I've used them. I’ve nursed my babies. The new ones will be perky, I will look great and won't have to wear a bra! I was ready to be aggressive. So, I went with my gut and went back for a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction (DIEP). It was a long surgery (12 hours) but I’m so glad that I did it. I also had a PET/CT scan and found that luckily, my cancer was isolated and had not spread elsewhere in my body. My next step in treatment was chemo and radiation and shortly thereafter, I did another PET/CT and there was NO EVIDENCE of CANCER!
It’s so important to partner with your doctor and find out which route of surgery and treatment is best for you. I fought like a girl and kicked cancer’s butt! You can too, not only for your friends and family but for you!