In case you missed my last post, I found out in October that I have breast cancer. Here are some of the questions I have gotten over the past few months. Finding out you have breast cancer is a terrible roller coaster of emotions with a whirlwind of doctors appointments, procedures, and waiting for results.
- Did you find a lump or feel something?
No, I felt nothing at all, even when they identified that it was a 2cm size lump. I felt fine and had no signs whatsoever of having cancer. I was honestly shocked when they told me I needed a biopsy. I eat clean, focus on staying active, and I breastfed 4 babies for what seemed like a million years. I never thought this would happen to me at such a young age.
- Do you have family history of breast cancer?
Yes, cancer has taken many of my relatives, including my mother. (She had colon cancer, not breast). The family history was always on my mind so in June I did all the genetic testing to see if I carried any of the genes specific to cancer. Ironically, all my genetic tests came back clear. I remember thinking in July that I was in “in the clear” and actually delayed my mammogram until the fall because the kids were out for the summer and it was just too hard to schedule.
Yes, I put my own self care on hold because of my kids. Sound familiar? Moms, we need to put ourselves at the top of the priority list more often!
- What kind of breast cancer is it?
Mine was found very early so for that, I am very thankful. I have ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which means it was still contained in the ducts. It is not considered an invasive cancer and had not spread to anywhere else within my breast. It was classified as a grade 3 however, which means it was faster growing. Basically had I waited another 6 months/year, that cancer would have left the ducts and become invasive. Having the mammogram saved my life.
Have you scheduled YOUR mammogram yet? Please just do it.
It doesn’t hurt and trust me…..breast cancer and all that comes with it, definitely hurts.
- Why didn’t you have a full mastectomy?
This was something I struggled with. After talking it over with my surgeon however, she educated me on how it was a drastic means for my situation. Even with full removal, there was still a chance of reccurence, and since the MRI showed the cancer had not spread, there was no need to remove everything. A mastectomy is an extensive surgery that would require a lot of recovery and honestly, it would be expensive. I’m a single mom and I don’t have any sick leave or health coverage at my job, so it really would have been difficult for me to choose that option.
Obviously had I needed to go that direction, I would have done so but my surgeon felt confident I could go with a just the lumpectomy and radiation. The recovery from surgery wasn’t too bad and I was able to get back to work fairly quickly. The medical bills are crazy though and I’ll be paying for this for the rest of my life. (Ironic right?!).
- What is next in your life after breast cancer?
I just finished up 4 weeks of radiation. It was every single day for 20 days. (excluding weekends). That was mentally and physically exhausting, my skin is burned and it was definitely more painful than I thought it would be. I met some amazing people during this time, however, especially all of the nurses that cared for me. Radiation was frustrating and annoying at times but I reminded myself it was an “insurance policy” to make sure those awful breast cancer cells don’t ever come back. I have to remain positive and remind myself this was just a speed bump in my road of life.
Right not I am cancer free and that I won’t need further treatment! I won’t lie and say that somewhere in the back on my brain there isn’t a thought of “what if……?” but I cannot feed that fear.
Life is short and I’ve been given another chance to make it count. As exhausting as my life is, I am thankful that I still have it and that I am still able to do all the things that I love to do. (I guess no more topless sunbathing though, lol!)
I have 4 wonderful and wild boys, 2 beautiful dogs and I still have A LOT of life left to live!
Thank you for all your messages and prayers and I wish I could come through the screen and hug every one of you.
Please, get your mammograms and don’t forget to flex!
Just throwing this out there–I don’t have a gofundme account but if you feel like helping me out with my crazy medical bills, my paypal address is email@example.com. Any extra money I get will be used to help other moms with their medical bills for breast cancer. Maybe a celebrity will pick up on my story and retweet it to millions? That would be amazing! I’m ready for an amazing year!