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At 38 I felt the lump. I have family members with fibroids so I ignored it and chalked it up to genetics. Also, I was healthy, didn't "feel" sick and no family history of any cancer. I didn't have insurance so rarely went to the doctor. March 11, 2014 just 6 days before my 40th birthday I went to my family doctor for extreme pain in my hip joint. My fiancé encouraged me to have her look at the lump since I was going anyway. I was still ignoring it! I mentioned it to her as side note, and she immediately sent me to have a mammogram. That was followed by an ultrasound then recommendation for biopsy. I had the biopsy on my 40th birthday and two days later received the news...Cancer.

I went to surgeon who after examining me sent me straight to an oncologist. It had spread to lymph nodes near my collar bone. It was confirmed by scans that I had Stage 3C Estrogen + Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I started chemo 10 days later and would have to take 6 rounds followed by surgery and radiation. I opted to have a bilateral mastectomy 1 month after chemo ended. They removed 28 lymph nodes and found 23 to still have active cancer. My surgeon was not optimistic about my prognosis. Fear overwhelmed me, but I continued on with treatment (33 radiation treatments) since my oncologist was optimistic. I couldn't stop fighting. I have a 14 year old daughter who needs her mom, and I had finally found the man of my dreams. We were supposed to grow old together, and I needed to be here to see the amazing woman my daughter will grow to be. January 8th, 2015 I heard the words "Cancer Free"! It's been a long, hard road but with the support of my amazing family and friends I made it! Only thing left is reconstruction, 10 years of Tamoxifen, and a better year ahead! Cancer changed us all but we came out stronger than we ever imagined!

Cathy B.
Petal, MS

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