In September of 2012 I had a weird pain in my left breast. I found a small lump and just assumed it was a cyst and probably nothing. I tried to ignore it but something told me to call the doctor and make an appointment. The pain was gone the next day and the “normal me” would have called and cancelled the appointment but I didn’t. My nurse practitioner I saw was amazing and wasted no time with getting me in for a mammogram and ultrasound the same day I saw her.
She, unfortunately, was no stranger to breast cancer and had recently undergone a mastectomy. The ultrasound revealed “something odd” per the doctor. Then the journey began. Testing and biopsies revealed cancer, although it was in the early stages, it was a large tumor. My surgeon told me I would need a mastectomy on my left breast and I decided to go ahead and have a bilateral mastectomy.
I was very lucky my surgeon agreed to let me postpone surgery until after a family vacation that we had planned for almost a year – it included extended family. Another relief was to find out that I did not carry the BRACA gene. Being adopted with no family medical history and having three daughters this was the best news I could have received. On January 9, 2013, I underwent surgery for the bilateral mastectomy.
I was and I am so blessed to have an amazing support system around me. My nurse practitioner, Becky, was so amazing. She met with me after office hours and even met me at my job to talk to me and comfort me through everything. It was shocking to me how many people I knew were going through the same thing or had already been through it. I found comfort to talk to each of them and be educated on their experiences and what I could expect.
Since my journey began I have had five friends diagnosed with breast cancer. I think we all have a special bond now having gone through the breast cancer experience, although the journeys may be different, they are similar. We can find a way to laugh and find strength in each other. The best thing to come out of this journey is to realize how each day is so precious and to try to live everyday to its fullest. I thank my friends and my wonderful family for all the support. And a special “shout-out” to my mother who still attends every cancer-related doctor’s appointment with me.