I was diagnosed at age 35 on May 24, 2017. I have currently stopped by prophylactic chemo due to bad side effects but am due to have my reconstruction surgery this November 2018. I am currently in remission and waiting to have my Left side mastectomy and reconstruction of both breasts this November 4th, 2018.
At the time I found out I was 7-months pregnant with my second child. My son and I had just recently repatriated back from living abroad so I could deliver here in the states. My husband had stayed behind to finish out his contract. So, when I found out, I was all alone at an appointment and I didn’t have my husband there to comfort me, though he immediately got on the first flight out when he heard the news.
I only had enough time to get 1 dose of “safe” AC chemo during pregnancy before it was too risky. I was pumped with steroids to help the baby grow and she was taken out a month early at 8 months so that I could get back to chemo due to the aggressive nature of my breast cancer. I did a total of 4 rounds of AC chemo which was absolutely horrible!
I have always taken care of myself, i.e.- eat healthy, exercise. So, I’d have to say opening up and allowing other people in to help has been the biggest lifestyle change of mine throughout this process. I have always prided myself in being very independent and “doing it all” but I learned that’s it’s ok to ask for help and accept help!
The hardest thing during all this time was not being able to be the mother I wanted to be for my newborn and at the time 4yr old, shortly later I completed 6 weeks of daily radiation, which overall wasn’t too bad minus the tightening and burning skin. Once I finished my radiation, I began working part-time (I’m a Physical Therapist) to help myself feel more “normal”. I have found the most support through my 2 kids, my husband and my immediate family (parents, siblings, in-laws); but I also found amazing support through my extended family (aunts/uncles, cousins). And well I can’t leave out all my friends who kept it real and acted as if nothing had really changed with me.
I first heard about The Breast Cancer Charities of America through my mom who owns Boballons360 and she told me she was donating a balloon ribbon for an event you guys were holding. My mom has been an amazing support with me and helping me raise my daughter when I was at my sickest points during treatment.
I wish I had a secret, but I just focused on my kids and what my future was holding…life, an amazing life! There were frustrations along the way so also allowing myself to cry when I needed was a great release!
If I could encourage other women who might be going through the same thing, I would tell them to just stay positive! There is a light beyond the tunnel! Focus on the good things in your life and accept help! Have faith! And don’t be afraid to use the cancer card when needed!