My breast cancer story began like this... I had a large lump in my breast that I tried to ignore for far too long. When I discovered a smaller lump in my arm pit I knew it was something I could NOT ignore any longer. I was diagnosed in September 2011, with Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. IDC is the most common form of breast cancer, therefore they have been able to do a lot of research and it is the most treatable. I was 37 and a single mother of 3, ages 18, 13, and 9. My children were my biggest concern, I knew from the time of diagnosis that I was going to beat it and had to be strong for them. Never once did I give them a reason to think I was going to die... that made all the difference in the world to them.
I started treatment on October 10, 2011. I had 16 chemotherapy treatments that ended on February 14, 2012... Happy Valentine's Day! I then recovered for a month, on March 16th I had a mastectomy on my right side and they also removed all my lymph nodes and I had clear margins... which was very good news!! During my surgery the plastic surgeon placed an expander under my chest muscle. Over the 6 weeks following surgery I went in every week to have saline injected into the expander to stretch my skin for reconstructive surgery down the road. Once I was healed and fully expanded, I received 28 radiation treatments which burned me to a crisp!
I went through the summer with my expander. In August of 2012 I went in for major reconstructive surgery. I spent a week in the hospital, 3 days in the burn center ICU. I had an amazing Plastic Surgeon... I thank God for that! In December I had one more touch up surgery to get everything just like we wanted.
Over the past 4 years I have been through a lot of post cancer related stuff. I now have a liver problem, cysts on my thyroid, a small aneurysm in my heart and a nodule on one of my adrenal glands. Pretty sure all my treatment had something to do with a lot of that. It is hard some days... I just want to be normal again. If there really is a normal.
I think the best thing we can do to prevent this horrible disease is to take care of ourselves. Be cautious of what we put in our bodies. My cancer was fed 100% by estrogen and progesterone. Where did it come from? I think there are a few things we can watch out for. I try to avoid soy and processed foods. I really watch out for soy. If you start to read labels it's in EVERYTHING!!
Again... thank you for letting me share my story. Lots of prayers to all of you that are living your own battles!!