My story began last June. I went in for my routine yearly check up with the gynecologist. My doctor thought she felt “something.” She said, “Well, you are 40, let’s get you in for a mammogram.” I had two cysts when I was 30 and again at 36 so I really was not concerned about her feeling anything. I went in for the mammogram, they took more pictures, then did an ultrasound and decided to send me for a biopsy. Again, I was not concerned.
I went in for the biopsy and waited for the results, finally beginning to worry a bit. A week later, my worst fears were confirmed. It was cancer. After spending two days crying almost constantly and worrying about what was going to happen, I finally pulled it together. I had two girls that were 11 and seven, and I had to see them grow up.
After careful consideration and many hours of research, I decided to do a double mastectomy with tissue expanders even though I was BRCA negative and my lump was small—6 mm—and contained in my left breast. I wanted the best odds possible and once I made my decision, I never looked back and felt an immense peace. My surgery went very well and within four weeks I was working full time, I was tired but I was doing great! I even played a tennis match one day shy of six weeks after my surgery!
The tissue expansion was a bit painful but fortunately lasted only a couple of months. I had my expanders removed and implants inserted the day before Thanksgiving! I had so much to be thankful for this year. The resources available for women facing this battle are plentiful. Being able to read other women’s stories gave me so much hope, seeing that even though they had the same diagnosis as me they were out living their lives and thriving.
Unfortunately, since my diagnosis a couple of people that I know have also diagnosed. While I am regretful that others are enduring this battle, I am glad that I am able to offer advice to help them along their journey. My surgeons were wonderful and I am so thankful that I had them walk this journey with me. I have been told to think of all this as a bump in the road and less than a year later, I can honestly say that is what is was.