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Breast Cancer??...But I just turned 30!!

On July 15th, 2014, just two months after my 30th birthday, I was diagnosed with Stage II invasive ductal carcinoma. My world was turned upside down: Why me? Why so young? Why now?

At an age when you’re supposed to be enjoying other things in life, I have cancer. Now I know that cancer definitely does not care about your age and I refuse to let cancer get in my way! I won't say or think that I'm sick...the mind is our most powerful tool :)

I am now grateful for my diagnosis. It has changed the woman I am today and the woman I will become. It has taught me more about life, my family, my friends and myself than I had learned in my first 30 years. I have always been a positive and optimistic person but this has truly tested my courage, my strength and my faith. I am 100% sure that “things happen for a reason” and that God chooses his best warriors for his toughest battles; we are truly blessed.

Since I am a single woman in her VERY early 30’s, I made the choice to undergo fertility treatment and freeze my eggs before starting treatment. I was unaware that chemo can leave you sterile. I am currently undergoing 24 weeks of chemo, followed by surgery and possibly radiation. Amongst many of the things I have learned in the past three months, I am also BRCA-1 positive. I still have to meet with my surgeon again to discuss my options but knowing that I have a mutation has made it easier for me to make the decision of having a double mastectomy.

It has been a definite rollercoaster of news, feelings and emotions but it helps knowing that I am not alone. I thank God everyday for my family and friends, especially my parents and my sister! I have the best support system anyone could ever ask for and I am now a part of a group of women that deserve my most sincere admiration and applause! We are WARRIORS and we are NEVER alone!

Mariana
Houston, TX

The big "C", but your too young.

I am 32 and was diagnosed with Stage 1 Her2 Breast Cancer, in July. Everything stopped in my world when this was told to me, I just couldn't believe what I was being told, my first thought was my daughter whose 3 yrs old. What and how am I going to go through this with her being so little and try to shield her from all of this because I want her to stay 3 yrs old and not grow up any faster than what she already has. All I heard at every appointment was your too young, I'm so sorry. On the upside my Oncologist advised the growth had just turned to cancer and this was the 2nd time he's seen this in his career. It took me several weeks to choose what I was going to do, either a mastectomy or the lumpectomy with 6 weeks of radiation. All I could think about was the chance of it coming back. I have a dear friend whose mother has the same exact breast cancer and it came back...something I was so scared of...finally on my 3rd week since my diagnosis I made my decision. I made it exactly the moment my doctor asked me if I had decided. At that moment I advised I wanted a mastectomy. On Aug 19th I had my mastectomy and it's been a rough recovery, more of acceptance that has made it rough. Of course there are good days and there are bad days. The best day was when I went to see my Oncologist who advised that I would not need any sort of treatment what so ever! The prayers from my friends and family truly worked this miracle. My pathology report for my lymph nodes came back negative, this was a confusion for my General Surgeon since they tested positive with the neuro injection. He even sent them off three times to be tested to make sure and each time they were negative. Truly a miracle and now I can move forward with my journey.

Catrina
Round Rock, TX

My Mother - the Survivor

This isn't about me, I'm not the survivor here. I'm the supporter, the one who was even more worried than she was.

My mother is a spunky, crazy, beautiful and outgoing 56 year young woman. Of course, she's just as stubborn as her mother was, so my father and I had to push her to go to the doctors about the lump that was weirdly growing on the top of her right breast. She knew what it was from the start, so she wasn't even upset when the weeks went by and the doctor finally told her it was breast cancer. Although she wasn't upset, or mad or any of those negative feelings - I was. I was hurt, angry, and I just didn't understand why this would happen to MY mother. She was strong - we already knew that. We didn't need something else getting in the way of it.

A few more weeks went by, and finally the day was here. She decided to go with the total right mastectomy. She wanted the breast removed, and we completely respected her wishes so, that's what happened on Sept. 8th, 2014. Hours passed in the waiting room at OSU, but finally the doctor came out and told us everything went perfectly fine and that the lymph nodes came back negative! Best news EVER!

She's still recovering, and she's doing wonderful. I've never seen someone so strong before, and I'm glad that I can call her my mother.

Thank you to all of the doctors, and thank you to all those strong women, and men, out there who've fought this ridiculous battle!

Dakota Perry
Pataskala, OH

What to do when your diagnostic studies are normal but you aren't

On June 12, 2014, I had my annual mammogram. Later that day, I found a rubbery lump in my right breast.

Three days later, I learned (by letter) that my mammogram was normal. Still concerned about the breast lump, I made an appointment with my primary care physician. On exam, I had a low grade fever with breast and axillary lymphadenopathy. I was prescribed Bactrim DS for a presumed bacterial infection.

Antibiotics had no effect and I was referred to a breast surgeon who told me that my mammogram was “beautiful” and the palpable breast lump was “nothing worrisome.” Nevertheless, she referred me for an ultrasound that was read as entirely normal.

Two weeks later, I had a routine appointment with my GI doc. Short story: My GI doc examined my breast lump and described it as “an almost sausage-shaped thrombus.”

I went back to my primary care physician and was sent for lab work (D-dimer) and a Doppler ultrasound of my right arm. When those tests were normal, I asked for a repeat breast ultrasound. I was sure my previous ultrasound had been technically inadequate and I insisted on a repeat study.

On July 18, 2014, my repeat breast ultrasound showed a discrete but “clinically insignificant” abnormality. The radiologist said he was 99.9% certain the abnormality was benign (fat necrosis). I said I was 99.99% certain it was cancer, and then I challenged him to biopsy it and prove me wrong.

On July 22, 20014, my breast biopsy was performed by a radiologist who assured me that no lesion like mine had ever turned out to be cancer.

Three days later, I was told I had a grade 2 invasive ductal carcinoma with micropapillary features, ER+ (100%), PR+ (20%) and Her2-. The pathology report indicated that vascular/lymphatic invasion was probably present (and it was; my current diagnosis is Stage 2B breast cancer, T2, N1mi).

Moral of the story: Be your own best advocate. There’s no way to be sure a breast lump is benign without a biopsy.

Pam Collier
Durham, NC

My fight is for my daughter

Diagnosed 8 days after the birth of my granddaughter, mine was supposed to have been easy, with no chemo and no radiation, that changed really fast. Neither mammogram or ultrasound picked up the other 2 hiding tumors, I had a total of 3 two different kinds. I had no systems other than being tired. After complete mastectomy that was followed by chemo, Taxotere and Cytoxen now I'm doing 40 radiation treatments, I'll know in a few days if I have to repeat chemo, for the ladies that are just being diagnosed, this is doable, stay calm and take one day at a time, mastectomy isn't the end of the world. My genetics test was negative!! So hopefully my daughter and best friend will never have to deal with this again..

Nancy Jones
Soddy Daisy, TN

There's Life After Breast Cancer!

I am approaching my one year anniversary of the day I heard those dreaded words--"you have breast cancer". On September 27, 2013 at the age of 40, my world was turned upside down when I was told I had stage 3-A Triple Negative breast cancer. I also had a total of 8 positive lymph nodes out of 30. Over the course of the past year, I have endured a sentinel node dissection, 12 rounds of Taxol, and 4 dense-dose rounds of AC treatments, which led to losing my hair. I learned I am BRCA1 positive, underwent a bilateral mastectomy with immediate tissue expander placement, 10 weekly expansion fills, surgery for implant placement, and finally 34 radiation treatments. Furthermore, my 2-year marriage could not endure the stress of my cancer diagnosis, and my marriage crumbled before my eyes during treatments.

Let this story be an inspiration to every woman out there who is fighting to regain their life and feel normal again. I fought for myself, my children, and for every woman out there who is rebelling against the ravages cancer can have on your body, mind, and spirit. I refused to back down or give in, and I'm here to say you CAN regain your life, be happy and move forward with your life. You ARE beautiful! I've lived my life and enjoyed the best summer of my life with family and friends. I'm busy living and enjoying every second. Cancer was tough, but it has taught me to cherish every single second I'm given. The sun will shine again in your life. Your smile will shine brighter than ever before, so let your story be a bright light to those who find themselves in the darkness of cancer.

FIGHT on ladies--we are warriors!

Teresa Trussell
Syracuse, OH

Jaime ' s story

My name is Jaime Cech and Iam a stage four survivor. I was diagnosed at age 34 with triple positive her2 aggressive breast cancer. By the time of my original diagnosis my cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and stomach and I was in for the fight of my life. My oncologist got together and pre paired our plan of attack. 12 rounds of chemo a double mastectomy and 30 radiation treatments to follow and a life that will be forever changed. I never anticipated CANCER or planned in advance that this would consume my life. A single mother of two girls and cancer wow! I started chemo immediately losing my hair and a feeling of self. I didn't recognize the face in the mirror anymore and the more poison(chemo) they pumped in me the weaker I felt. After 12 rounds of chemo I went into cardiac arrest. I was burned from the inside out because of a broken port. Shortly there after I had a double mastectomy and lymph removal. My tumor was donated for research to help future bc patients. I received 30 rounds of radiation to rid my chest wall of the cancer that remained and I continued with preventative treatment until my heart wasn't strong enough anymore. Through the storm I pushed and pushed to find that inner me again, the person Breast Cancer tried to consume. I realize through all the trials to never give up on life or yourself because anything is possible. Two years ago I was given 10% chance to live and today I'm stronger then ever and two years clean, cancer free and still the mother of two beautiful daughters who see me as a hero a fighter and a breast cancer survivor.

Jaime L Cech
EL MIRAGE, AZ

My Journey

I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma June 2014. After being told that something was found in my mammogram. I was sent for a biopsy which confirmed what was suspected. I was overwhelmed by all the information but went for a second opinion in NYC, the same diagnosis was given. However, I began to do some research and being that my cancer is estrogen driven I made the decision of doing a bilateral mastectomy. It was done on September 8,2014. I am recuperating very well and awaiting to start chemotherapy in 2 weeks. I know I have a long journey ahead but I am glad it was found in time. It turns out I had a stage 2 cancer. At this time I have expanders on with drains but the pain is gone. All I feel is a soreness. My surgeons did an outstanding job. I Thank God everyday because I know he is by my side, along with my husband & loved ones.

Leticia Bolorin
Mahopac, NY

The C word.

My unwilling journey. A journey with no end . The cancer can be removed from the body but never from the mind . People are wanting an uplifting story, with a happy ending,sorry can not help you . The best advice I can share with anyone is, do your monthly exam, the life you save is yours!

jeanne
phoenix, AZ

Survivor!!

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor and I'm am Blessed more then you may know!!! Being diagnosed at such a young age is mind blowing. It's and emotional rollercoaster. Breast Cancer is really a life changing experience. And till this day I still can't believe that I HAD Breast Cancer. My two children kept me strong. They kept me positive. They kept me going. Without those two I don't know what or where I would be. Their love through it all warmed my heart. I still cry sometimes just thinking about it but then I smile because I'm still here and grateful as ever!! I had a life changing experience and I can honestly say through it all I kept a positive attitude. But that's all you can do when your going through something like that. Having Breast Cancer made me a stronger woman, a better mother and a warrior. I kicked Breast Cancer's Butt at the age of 25 and I would do it ALL over again if I had too!!! Always remember... God Gives His Toughest Battles To His Strongest Soliders!!!!

Kim James
Col, OH
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