Nov 11, 2021
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My breast cancer journey started in 2005 when I went for my yearly mammogram and a very small lump was found on my left breast. The next step was to have a biopsy, which was scary. When the results came back my doctor called to tell me it was stage one breast cancer. Just hearing the words was devastating and in that moment I thought I was not hearing the doctor correctly. The next step was to find an oncologist. I learned quickly I was not going to get any clear answers as to what the right choice was for me - mastectomy vs. lumpectomy, etc. In my experience the doctors do not want the liability.

My family was my main support. My sister went to EVERY SINGLE appointment with me to take notes. It is so important to have someone with you because you do not hear everything that is said. I also have my brother, who was in the medical field, to help me.

So here I was with a life changing decision before me. After some other doctors looking at my results it was suggested I have a stain test to look at the margins of this very small tumor. With the results suggesting a lumpectomy. I remember asking the surgeon “if this was your wife what would you do?” Again, he did not give a definitive answer. I ended up getting a lumpectomy in which they removed the tumor and some lymph nodes. They said they had gotten all of the cancer. I also had 7 weeks of traditional radiation, which was 5 days per week. I was a single mom of a 10 year old and college student.

Following that, I had genetic testing to make sure I did not have the BRCA gene since I had no family history and also had concern for my sister.

I was cancer free for 10 years when I developed pain in my left shoulder. I worked in a job that I lifted things often, so I thought I had torn something. After several months of cortisone injections from a pain specialist that provided no relief, I decided to find a surgeon who sent me for an MRI. The findings were that the cancer had metastasized to my left shoulder. I had 5 rounds of radiation and started taking Letrozol tablets daily. I had no more pain.

4 years later in 2019 the cancer had jumped to my T2 near my spine in my back and and 2 very small spots on my pelvis again this was confirmed in an MRI diagnosed as stage 4. I have been on Ibrance tablets 3 weeks on and 1 week off, Fulvestrant and Exgeve shots monthly for 21 months. I have had a PET scan showing no new disease and a slight healing in the T2.

As research is always evolving for cancer with new possibilities, I am now a candidate for a new cutting edge radiation therapy called Stereortactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT). This could potentially zap the tumors gone.

Two takeaways from my journey that I cannot stress enough:

  • Go with your gut when finding the right fit for your doctors

  • Always be your own advocate!

I’m sure if your reading my story, you are shaking your head. But honestly I have had so much support along the way from my 2 amazing kids, family, friends, doctors, God, therapy, and working with my nutritionist. We have a choice each day to wake up and say “I CHOOSE POSITIVITY, GREATFULNESS, AND HAPPINESS OR DEFEAT & SADNESS.” For me it’s the first.

You are in control of your future!! I will not give up and you should not either:)

All my love,