The Journey Begins

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“I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.” – Angelina Jolie

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February 12, 2018 I heard those 3 words no one wants to hear. “You have cancer”. In a way I already suspected I did and those words gave me a bit of closure. Then it hit me. I’m 31 years old. 31! I am not suppose to have breast cancer but here I am. The next thought I had, was how lucky I am to have found it early. One reason for this is because I have been going to the breast doctor twice a year since I was 17.

A little back story for you, I found a lump in my breast when I was 17. I went in for a biopsy and it turned out to be a fibroadenoma. Basically that big fancy word means that it was a benign tumor. Fibroadenomas are the most common lump found in young women. Over the next 14 years I had more biopsies because those suckers loved to turn up in my breasts. I had 4 on the right side and 2 in the left. All biopsies were shown to be fibroadenomas. I honestly never was scared by finding a new lump because it always turned out to be the same thing.

Well, February 6, 2018 I go in for my 6 month check up. While during the checkup my nurse Norma found a new lump in my left breast. Again was not feeling worried at all. My nurse then proceeded to perform an in office ultrasound. I could pretty much be a breast ultrasound tech at this time because I know exactly what fibroadenomas look like on ultrasound…. This did not look like a fibroadenoma. Still I was not completely worried, but at this point I realized something was not right. Norma told me that she wants to biopsy this one. I looked her in the eyes and asked her if this looks bad. She hesitated but then told me that she was concerned. She said that if it is something it is small and we will take care of it… I pretty much knew then that I had cancer.

February 7, 2018 I had a core needle biopsy by my awesome doctor Dr Whitworth (Shout out!) . I asked him at that time what looked different about this one than my previous lumps. He said this one has “jagged edges”. Ugh, those two words haunted me those next few days. Because of course I then went to “Doctor Google” and saw that jagged edges were most often always cancer. I was a HOT MESS yall. Like really. I had to wait 5 days to find out for sure what this was. It felt like it was 30 days. Thankful for my family and awesome boyfriend during this time. I’m sure they all thought I was crazy.

February 12, 2018 I found out for sure that I had invasive breast cancer. My mom and dad were there with me. They have been my ABSOLUTE rocks during all of this craziness. At this time they wanted to take blood for genetic testing. They said the results of this test would take 4 weeks. What the genetic test tells is if you have the BRCA1/2 genes. I’ll go into this testing more on a different post. In the meantime my doctor wanted me to have a breast MRI to make sure there was nothing else that was concerning.

February 16, 2018 I had a breast MRI. You guys this was the weirdest thing ever. It’s almost laughable. You have to lay on the table and put your breasts in these slots. It was super weird.

During these next few days I felt really good. I was ready to meet with my doctor and come up with a plan that next week. hahahaha not how this thing works. Who knew?  I got a call from Norma telling me they found more spots on the breast MRI and want me to now go in for a mammogram and ultrasound. I really felt like I was handling this all pretty well but that call definitely put me in a bad place that day. I was pretty down. I just wanted to know what this was. If I was going to need chemo, radiation, etc. She did tell me over the phone that day that my cancer was ER/PR positive. And I would need to start hormone therapy.

After I had the extra tests taken I was able to meet with my doctor. I had so many questions. When he came in, he told me that he had just presented my case to a board of doctors. He said that every one of them said that I should have a mastectomy. Wait, what? This was not part of my plans. He said that it is ultimately my decision. He said if I was older he would think a lumpectomy and radiation would be all I needed. But unfortunately I got this at a young age. He said that every year I’ll have to come in for multiple tests. Be picked at (biopsy) every time they find anything at all. The thought of this being a reality for the rest of my life was sickening. I knew then what I had to do.

I have decided to have a nipple sparing double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. This means during surgery my doctor will work with a plastic surgeon and put in what is called tissue expanders. These will be filled in the weeks/months after until I get to a size that I like. Then the plastic surgeon will transfer the tissue expanders out and replace with implants. The results are truly amazing.

Why am I sharing this? To be honest I’ve gone back and forth at how I want to handle this. I feel like God has given me this for a reason. Yes it sucks. Yes these next few months will be full of trials and pain that I can’t even begin to comprehend. But in the end it will be worth it. I am LUCKY. What? Weird right? But yes I am LUCKY that I had fibroadenomas which caused me to go every 6 months for checks. THANK YOU NORMA! She’s my hero for finding my cancer early. This is why I am sharing.

Early detection is key. It can save your life. What sucks is that these tests that are done for screening are NOT cheap. But that is why I’m sharing my story. I want you ladies (and guys too!) to get to know your body. Feel for lumps or anything that may just not feel right. Get checked often. One of the scariest tests I have taken is the genetics test. Thank God mine came back negative. But that is an important test to have done to see if you have an increased risk of breast/ovarian cancer. If it does come back positive you have options. You have ways to decrease the chance of getting breast cancer BEFORE it happens.

Christina Applegate has become my best friend. She just doesn’t know it yet. But her story has really helped me. She has an AMAZING charity called Right Action for Women. This charity raises money for early detection. They use this money to offer women free MRI’s. I think this is great. And I hope to sometime in the future help raise money for this charity.

That is all for now. I have my meeting with the plastic surgeon this Tuesday and hoping to then set a date for my surgery.

Oh and also I’m accepting any and all prayers right now. GOD IS GOOD! 🙂

 

Published by

tatatocancer

I was diagnosed with Stage IIIA Grade 2, HR/PR positive HER2 negative breast cancer at age 31. I am now NED!

35 thoughts on “The Journey Begins”

  1. Praying for you. I’m a 3 year BC survivor. #cancersucks #fightlikeagirl (ps…If you’re having lymph nodes removed please educate yourself on lymphedema.)

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  2. Laura I am so sorry for what you’re going though, but I’m so thankful you found it early! I love your positive attitude and how you’re giving God glory in your trials and tribulations. It still breaks my heart for you and Ray (I’ve been following you for years because of the show and am glad he found you!!). My daughter (a true prayer warrior) and I will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Know that you aren’t alone in this and its only a small season that will pass. I’ll be praying that you’ll only grow stronger and wiser and be able to help others having gone through this small hell pull through afterwards. You are truly amazing!! #StayStrongAlways #KickCancersBooty

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  3. Hi Laura, thanks for sharing your story. You’re right, God is good! I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer at 29. After mastectomy, chemo, stem cell transplant and radiation, I am cancer free. I am now 52 years old. No cancer in my family. Negative Brac results.
    Keep your chin up girl! You got this!!!

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  4. Laura- WOW! Love your spirit through all of this! I will say a prayer for you and all the others who are experiencing or who have experienced this ordeal. Stay strong and remember HE won’t give us anything we can’t handle. And by the looks of it- you’re a pretty strong woman! I’m sure you can take down Ray lol!
    Although we have never met- I feel as if I know you because of the show & your crazy 😜 BF Ray (Raymond)
    Hugs and kisses to you!

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  5. God bless you girl! You’re tenacity and spirit are absolutely incredible! I will be praying for you each and every day. Listening to the show for so long almost makes it feel like I know you. Clearly your kind heart, generosity and endless patience over time have proven that you are a great person with endless strength. Ray is certainly lucky to have you. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. It’s definitely a wake up call.

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  6. Hi there – just found your story from Bobby and I’ve gotta say it gives me chills. I’m 31 too, and have been getting screens twice a year for the past 4-5 years and will continue to do so indefinitely. I haven’t had to deal with all the lumps like you have but I have extreme family history – mom, maternal grandmother and great grandmother all had it. Lost my mom at age 58 and my grandmother passed at age 38. Needless to say, my risk is high! I laughed out loud about your MRI comment – I’ve had a few myself and those are GREAT to explain to people. I also got my genetic test and am negative. I have my biannual screening this coming week.

    I am about to read your other posts now, but I just wanted you to know that I can relate somewhat and most importantly, I am sending you all the badass vibes possible for you to kick this cancer’s ass! Thank god for early detection! Love and support to you, lady! ❤️

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    1. Hi Leah! So glad you are being screened and keeping up with your appointments. This means if they ever do find anything they can take care of it way easier before if progresses. I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your mom and grandmother at such a young age. I’m sure this made you a strong women. Here for you if you ever need to talk or have any questions. And yes those MRI’s were quite comical. 🙂 oh! And so happy your genetic test came back negative. That is huge! 💕

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  7. Hi Laura! I’m so sorry to hear about this. It breaks my heart to know anyone has to go through the pain both physically and emotionally of a breast cancer diagnosis. It’s so scary. But I applaud your strength and for sharing your journey. I found my lump at 33 and had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. It’s definitely not the most pleasant thing to go through but it made me stronger. I’m a survivor! It has been 16 years for me and five years for my older sister. She also had a double mastectomy and chemo. Know that you are not alone and that you have so many people rooting for you. You’re going to be, not only better before you know it, but stronger too. 💕

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  8. Laura I can’t tell you what you sharing this has done for others but it woke me up that if a 31 one year old could deal with this then I better drag my 53 year old body in for testing . I went today because of your strength and my diagnosis was cysts and dense fibrocystic breasts ( I’m supposed to go every 6 months but have lapsed too long to mention ) but I won’t put it off again . I thought of you the whole time I was there today first thru the mammogram then after being told could I possibly stay for an US as well I stayed and told what I knew of your story and how ashamed I was for putting something off that could save my life possibly . Thank you again for sharing I may not be going thru your journey but your journey was not for nothing you have made a difference !!!!!

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  9. I’m so sorry you have to go through this but thank you so much for being so open. I have had breast cysts a majority of my adult life and they seem to be ignored because I was only 22 or 23… I’m 38 now and still wonder if I should be more aggressive in being screened. I will now!!! Tons of love and prayers from me ♥️

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  10. (Following your story thanks to Radioamy.) your attitude is uber inspiring! Will be praying and remain hopeful for your journey. ❤️ As a nurse practitioner for women’s health, I applaud you for staying up to date on your screenings. Stay strong, sister!

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  11. Your positive outlook is inspiring. I recently had a ‘bad’ mammogram. Thankfully after over a year of tests I am in the clear. That said, it was terrifying to hear them say they’ve ‘found’ something that wasn’t there before. I thought about my 16 year old daughter and how scared I was for her if she had to grow up without her mom. How my sweet husband would handle raising our daughter alone. YES…all these things ran through my mind. Thank you for sharing your story. Early detection is KEY. I work with FOUR women around my age (40-50’s) who have overcome breast cancer, my mother in law has had it come back twice. Its very scary…Keep fighting like a girl! You’ve got this!

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  12. Your positive outlook is awesome! I was diagnosed with lobular breast cancer at age 32 (22 years ago). The cancer was both estrogen and progesterone positive which meant I couldn’t take hormone replacement therapy when I went through peri-menopause.
    I had 6 chemo; 8 weeks of radiation then another 6 weeks of chemo. I had the lumpectomy done.
    It was a hard road to travel especially since I couldn’t take the anti-nausea medication. Ginger tea, ginger cookies, ginger candy and the ginger you put on sushi became my favorites!
    I’ll be praying for you.

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  13. Laura, I am a big fan of the Bobby bones show and all the wonderful people on it. I just wanted to tell you that you are so brave and strong for sharing all the details of your story. We lost my sister 19 years ago to ovarian cancer, she was 36, early detection is so important! I will keep you in my prayers, and keep following your story. Wishing you a full recovery… peace.

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  14. Laura, just stumbled upon your story. Thank you for sharing your personal journey. I am a 43 year old 2 year survivor. I had triple negative breast cancer. I did chemo, double mastectomy and radiation (finished Feb 2017)

    Your positive attitude is the best gift you can give your self for a full recovery. Just like me It sounds like you are lucky enough to have an amazing support system. I am thinking of you as you begin your chemo hoping for no side effects and to you getting back to a high quality of life !

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  15. One of the worst moments of my life, my wife Holly being positive said after her biopsy that there is nothing to worry about she knows it will be nothing. The tech smiled and left the room quickly not saying a word. At that second I knew Holly was in for a battle! Early detection is so crucial! Please get tested early and often! Mammograms are not enough

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