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My mother died of lung cancer when she was 54, 6 weeks before my daughter was born. I was 26. When two of her sisters were diagnosed with breast cancer, I asked for a mammogram and BRCA test at age 35, even though doctors continued to tell me I was too young to worry about cancer. The BRCA test was not covered by insurance and I didn't have the $3,000 to cover it so I was not tested. Life got busy and I never had another mammogram, though I was having yearly annual exams with my GYN. Fast forward to early April, 2015 when at age 38 I found a lump.
My significant other Tyler urged me to get a mammogram quickly. We went to the doctor together, and when they asked him to join me for an ultrasound–being the self-proclaimed WebMD I am–I knew immediately something was wrong. By mid-April I was diagnosed with Stage IIIa Grade II IDC (ER/PR+, HER2-, BRCA-). I opted for a left mastectomy May 1 and have started treatment of 16 weeks of chemo and 30 radiation sessions. Thankfully my PET scan was negative, and I will have reconstructive surgery after treatment is complete. I turned out to be BRCA-, so a test years ago would not have predicted my breast cancer diagnosis.
I consider myself lucky to have the support of Tyler, my kids, and countless other family members and friends around me. Lucky to have a team of doctors that moved swiftly and continue to be honest with me. Lucky to work for a company that has been very supportive of the days I feel like working from home.
It is what it is. I cannot change the fact that I have cancer, but I can continue to fight and remain positive. I tell my story to inspire others to trust your gut, be your own healthcare advocate and find a team of doctors you trust implicitly. Educate yourself about breast cancer. Be supportive of others and their decisions. Laugh every day. Speak up. Smile.
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Your click on the "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button helps fund free mammograms for women in need — low-income, inner-city and minority women whose awareness of breast cancer and opportunity for help is often limited. Your click is paid for by site sponsors, and mammogram funding is provided to clinics throughout the U.S. through grants distributed by GreaterGood.org. With a simple, daily click of the pink "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button at The Breast Cancer Site, visitors help to provide free mammograms for women in need. Visitors pay nothing. In addition to clicking the pink "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button, visitors can help more by shopping in The Breast Cancer Site store. With each item purchased, shoppers generate funds that provide free mammograms for women in need.