“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
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! 🙂