I was diagnosed on December 18, 2012, at the age of 35. I have no family history and tested negative for the BRCA gene. Self-examination led to early detection. On February 14, 2013, I had a bilateral mastectomy, tissue expanders put in, and a port placed in my chest for the 16 rounds of chemo & a year of hormone therapy I was scheduled for.
The hardest part about being diagnosed was having to tell my family and realizing my life was going to change. I cried the first two days of hearing this horrible news. After that, I got up and said “Crying isn’t doing anything to help me. I can make a decision right here, right now, I can feel sorry for myself or I can show cancer that you’re not the boss of me” I have never cried about cancer ever again. I felt the more I talked about my story the more comfortable I was with my diagnosis.
My husband and I did fertility in between my mastectomy and my first chemo and we have one embryo in storage. I will have been on an oral hormone therapy for 5 years. During this time, I wasn’t able to have children. But in September 2018 I will complete the oral medication and my husband, and I can try to start having a family finally!
Most of my support came from my husband, family, friends, and coworkers. My husband and I weren’t married when I was first diagnosed. We had only been dating for a year. The most joy I had during this time was spending time with my family and the support from everyone. I loved to tell my story and I loved when people asked me about it.
I still struggle today with the side effects of the chemo. I have a hard time dealing with the Texas heat (everyone struggles with this haha), memory problems, nephropathy in my fingers from time to time, and trouble finding words when speaking. I have night sweats & hot flashes from the oral medication. But changing my lifestyle has been a huge goal throughout this whole process. I am aware of products that have been linked to cancer and no longer use them and I try to be more active every day!
I first heard of The Breast Cancer Charities of America when I was looking for ways to volunteer and wanted to volunteer in the breast cancer community. This organization has allowed me to share my story and inspire other women going through this journey, as my journey will never end.
If I could encourage other women going through this journey I would tell them to stay positive!!!!! Attitude will help you beat this before medicine ever will. The combination of the two, it’s going to knock cancer on its butt!