Breast Cancer Survivor
I noticed the lump in December 2008. I just knew there was something there so I made an appointment with my GYN to get a full check up. My doctor didn't notice any lump and he said he felt nothing. He said because of my age I could be experiencing pre-menopausal symptoms so he sent me on my way with a prescription for Progesterone. He also gave me a prescription for a mammogram with the words, "NO LUMP" written on it.
When I left the office I wasn't worried, I figured if the doctor didn't feel anything and wasn't concerned...maybe I'm just being paranoid. So, I didn't think much about it. I scheduled my mammogram that following week and when I woke up that morning my breasts were so tender I didn't think I was going to be able to endure a mammogram. I was over due for my period and my breast usually get very sore. Now it's Feb. and I decide I am going to visit my family down in Florida for a week so without thinking ...hey, I really need to get this mammogram...I go to visit my family. While out shopping with my sister, the breast where I thought or I should say...knew I had the lump starts to bother me a bit. It was small, hardly palpable and I asked my sister to feel it. She said she did feel it and it felt like something she had... a non cancerous lump.
Again, I thought,...my sister had a lump removed and it was fine, my mom had one removed when she was young...she too was ok, so odds are in my favor I will ok too...so, I didn't run to get it checked out. I go home and notice...I can really feel it now, feels closer to the skin. Now I'm thinking this may not be good, I'd better go. I got an appointment for mid March. The lump was very palpable by then, it was getting bigger by the week and even still I thought it was a cyst, probably something my mother and sister had. When the did the mammo that day my pictures got stuck in the machine. They told me, "this never happeded before...we can't explain it" Now I'm anxious so I insist on a sonogram. I tell them I am not leaving without something, some type of test, I've put it off for 2 and 1/2 months..please..
They gave me a sonnogram and call the doctor in. She looked concerned, she told me I had to come back for a biopsy, so they scheduled me the next day. After the biopsy I said, "maybe it's nothing" the doctor replied, "it's not nothing, it's something and either way, it's got to come out" She called me 2 days later and told me it was cancer. I was devastated. I had a lumpectomy and 5 lymph nodes removed. Thank God my nodes were negative and my surgeon was able to get out the lump and surrouding tissue with no problems. Clean margins he said, negative nodes, but the tumor was invasive and almost 2 cm.
They staged me Stage 1c....close to stage 2 because of the size of the tumor. I found an excellent oncolgist in the Bronx...it was a bit of a hike but I didn't care I wanted the best...one specialized in my subtype of BC. Mine was not caused by my hormones and I don't have an over expression of a protein that encourages cancer to grow..so they call it Triple Negative BC...a very aggressive type. Put it this way, on a scale of 1-10 the aggressiveness of my tumor was a 9 or 10. Scary stuff.
After doing much research I decided to go ahead with the chemotherapy, truly it was my only option and I found out chemo is very effective on this type of cancer. Also there are no targeted therapies after treatment so this was my only shot at fighting it hard at Stage 1, so I did....I did chemo for 5 months. Then I had 33 radiation treatments of that breast. It wasn't easy, but I did it, and I am stronger then I was before. I am proud of myself for enduring it all and never really missing a beat. I stayed as optimistic as I could and it helped my mood and helped the ones I love.
I am blessed, I have a wonderful husband and 3 awesome kids. They were my strength..I wanted to be here not only for me but for them. I was not about to give up or give in. It's been 6 months since my treatment ended. I am feeling stronger every day. Do I feel like my old self? Not quite yet but getting closer everyday. I lost all of my long blond hair, my beautiful long mane, I was known for my hair..it was such a big part of my physical idenity. Do I miss it?? OMG yes. I can't wait till it grows back, actually it has grown back but it's so short..I don't like myself in short hair, but it's a small price to pay for piece of mind. But I am glad I did the chemo and the radiation. I am happy that my oncologist gave me the "big guns" I sleep better at night knowing I did everything in my power to fight this beast. I mentioned my experience leading up to my diagnosis in great detail because I want people to know..it can happen that fast. Life gets in the way and we put things off. If I could go back and do it again I would have had that mammo back in Dec. But I didn't because I wasn't thinking cancer. Thank God I went when I did..but one thing I can tell you..I will never miss another mammo again!! Or check up!! Oh Yeah, learned that!!