I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in December 2007 at age 34. I found a lump in my right breast during a monthly self breast exam. The surgeon told me that it was "probably nothing", but that we should remove it anyway so that when I had my first mammogram (at 40), everyone wouldn't "freak out."
I will never forget hearing the words, "you have breast cancer." The first thing I thought was, "I'm going to die and leave my kids without a mother." I was never so scared in my life.
Everything happened very quickly after my diagnoses. An MRI and follow up biopsy showed a seperate and different cancer in my left breast. within a few months, I had 8 rounds of chemo, a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, and a total hysterectomy. My family and friends were amazingly supportive. They arranged to bring dinners to my house, watch my kids, and keep me company during my chemo treatments. My daughter was too young to know what was going on, but my 4 year old son was not. I remember one particular time, after chemo, I was throwing up. He asked if I was ok, and I said, "Mommy's fine- I'm sorry, I don't want you to be upset." He proceeded to rub my back and tell me that I had nothing to be sorry for. I was in shock that such a young child could show so much compassion.
Life is full of learning experiences, and I've learned so much during my journey. I've learned not to sweat the small stuff (it doesn't matter), make memories every day (don't wait for an occasion), and never take the promise of time for granted.