I am a 49 year old wife and mother of two daughters.
I work in Education as an Administrative Assistant in Kitchener, Ontario and have been living a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy, exercise, and staying active.
My Breast Cancer Story
One morning as I was showering I felt a lump in my right breast and called my mom, asking what it could be. She mentioned that there is no one in the family that had breast cancer so it was probably a cyst, which can occur at 47 as I was experiencing premenopausal symptoms. I tried to not worry about it as I was trying to get an appointment with my doctor. I was able to see the doctor in November, who then suggested a mammogram which I got mid December. Due to the holidays and scheduling, it was a stressful Christmas and New Year until I received my answer on Jan 3 2023- you have breast cancer. I then found out that I had very dense breasts and the type of cancer was Triple Negative Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and quite aggressive.
My anxiety level and depressing thoughts were so high that it felt like my life was over, but after counselling, and trying self-help videos, I decided medication (Cipralex) was the only way I would be able to cope to get through this life changing diagnosis. I began chemotherapy on Feb 7th. The tumour that was 2cm in December ended up being 5.5 cm in February. I had 8 rounds of two different kinds of chemotherapy, (which also placed me in full menopause) and began immunotherapy. I had a double mastectomy in August with 21 lymph nodes removed, 5 showing cancer, and also found out after my surgery that I had 15mm of DCIS. I decided to do aesthetic flat closure as with this being my first surgery ever, I didn’t want more surgeries in the future. I also had 25 rounds of radiation, and am currently still receiving immunotherapy for another 9 treatments, as well as Xeloda, which is an oral chemotherapy for another 6-8 rounds. I am still working through treatment today and all the side effects that are caused from the medications, but continue to remind myself I’m still alive.
What I Want You To Know
Life becomes such an up and down roller coaster that you need to continue to take it one day at a time. It can be difficult to stay positive when going through cancer but knowing that the oncology team, family, and friends all have your back helps you push to continue to fight for survival. I have entered research projects to help find treatments so that my daughters will have a greater chance of survival in the future as they are now considered high risk and need monitoring due to my diagnosis.There needs to be earlier detection for breast cancer.
Cancer can disrupt anyone’s life at any time. Living a healthy lifestyle, with no family history and no genetic markers, shows that cancer doesn’t discriminate. Women need to do self exams routinely. I found my cancer through my daily shower. Early detection is key to quickly treating this disease. Mammograms, ultrasounds, MRI’s- advocate for yourself and your family and seek the testing available until you receive the answers you are looking for. We need these changes in our health care to save many more future generations of women and men.
I have definitely learned what is important in my life, to live it happy and give myself grace in all that I do in the future. All my love and support to all warriors and survivors.