I received a phone call on November 7, 2017 that would change my life forever and create a brutal yet rewarding journey. The results from my mammogram and ultrasound I’d had the day before due to a lump I’d found, concluded that the lump was considered “Category 5, highly suspicious” and I needed to get into a breast specialist ASAP! A week later I got a biopsy at the UMC Southwest Cancer Center. Two days before Thanksgiving I was told I had Stage 1 ER+ Breast Cancer.
I’ve been incredibly blessed by my amazing support system and team. My mom was at every appointment and chemo treatment with me, and my husband worked tirelessly at the office and at home to ensure things ran smoothly when I was too weak from the treatments. My family, friends and co-workers wore pink earrings for my surgery and pink shirts every Monday to show support while I was at chemo. Even some Church family and strangers near and far prayed fervently for me throughout my treatments. While my goal was to bless others through my journey, I have seen that blessing in return tenfold!
The next couple of months were a whirlwind. So many questions and decisions I had to make. The first decision was Lumpectomy with radiation or Mastectomy. My surgeon recommended a lumpectomy with radiation due to it having a slightly higher success rate. I wanted the highest success rate but, because of where my cancer was, I couldn’t just have a lumpectomy because everything would collapse. So, I ended up having a lumpectomy with bilateral reduction and reconstruction. It was a very long and detailed surgery, but I did great. They were able to remove all traces of cancer and 15 lymph nodes that all came back clear!
Although the cancer was removed during surgery, because of my young age, they were leaning towards needing chemo to prevent recurrence. After taking the Oncotype test it was decided that I would benefit tremendously from Chemotherapy. I had prayed so hard that I wouldn’t have to do Chemotherapy, so this news was devastating. However, I knew I was put on this journey for a reason!
My goal was to bless and inspire others by sharing my story which, in turn, made enduring my battle easier. I relied on my inner strength and kept my head held high as I struggled through multiple surgeries, chemo and radiation. I prayed that my smile and joy would encourage those living the same journey. I planned to persevere and look back on my journey knowing how blessed I was to survive!
My biggest fear from day 1 was how my 2-year-old daughter would cope with everything. I was terrified my bald head would scare her and worried that she wouldn’t understand why her mommy was too tired to take her out to play, couldn’t carry her to bed or too sick to cook dinner. Thankfully kids are resilient, and I was strong enough that none of that was an issue. Instead she kissed me on the head and told me how much she loved my hair even when it was bald and patchy, she sat and watched movies with me instead of going outside and playing, and she didn’t mind yet another night of takeout!