I had felt a lump in my right breast and I knew in my heart it was cancer. I have a sister and grandmother who has dealt with this as well. I told myself not too worry, it is what it is. My yearly mammogram was coming up and I would find out for sure then.
Feb 3, 2012 is when I went for that mammogram that changed my and my loved ones lives. After more pictures, ultra sound and biopsy, it was confirmed. On Feb 21, 2012, I heard the words "you have cancer", I was 44 years old. I wasn't too traumatized by those words as I had already prepared myself for the worst. Having the love and support from my wonderful husband has been a blessing. This whole journey has been 'we' not 'I', 'we have cancer", 'we have a doctors appointment'. He's taken such good care of me. I appreciate him so much.
On 2/28/12 I went in for a lumpectomy and lymph nodes. Invasive ductal carsinoma, stage 1, grade 2, triple positive and lymph nodes negitive. What I wasn't prepared for was that my margins weren't clear. I would need more surgery.
On 3/28/12 I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction using expanders. I have to say, in such a horrible situation, waking up in a pretty purple ruffled binder with my expanders filled a little made me feel good. I wasn't so ugly and disfigured after all. I would need to follow up with chemo and tomoxifin. Ok I thought, not a big deal. I am strong and fit. My hair doesn't define me. Bring it on.
On 4/18/12 I started my six rounds of TCH, (taxatore, carboplatin & herceptin) three weeks apart with an additional weekly treatment of herceptin for a year. I never dreamed chemo would kick my butt but it sure did. I was weak, achy and so tired. On top of having cancer and all that comes with it, I was unable to return to work by the end of my FMLA, so I also lost my job. Nothing like being kicked while your down. I do try to always keep a positive attitude, I believe everything happens for a reason, I trust that 'it'll all work out', and I never feel sorry for myself - there's always someone who has it worse than me. The scars don't bother me. I look at them as tattoos that say 'fight with all you have'. That is exactly what I'm doing.
I have finished those six rounds of chemo. I'm getting stronger every day and my hair is growing back. I have had surgery to exchange my expanders for my implants. My boobs feel and look great! I have started taking the tomoxifen. I am now doing a triple dose of herceptin every three weeks - the side effects aren't any worse than the weekly treatment.
On 12/7/12, I had my surgery for my nipples and areola skin grafting, as well as revisions to my breasts. This surgery set me back a bit as it was a more involved procedure. Cutting from my 'bikini line' the skin to use for the areola and nipple. Also lypo in my stomach and arm pit area. The fat was then deposited to my breasts for better form and appearance. I had to have my right pocket cut and sewn tighter, so I have an extra scar on that side. I have to say, lypo sucks! Pun intended, LOL. I was so sore from it! The up side, I got a little tummy tuck and great boobs.
Feb of 2013, I had my first of three sessions of tattooing added for color. I am now finished, and I am amazed at how real my boobs look.
I thought for sure that I would be strong enough come the new year to find a new job. I was wrong again. My body hurts. Every joint and muscle aches. Back in Sept of 2012, my husband hugged me too hard and broke my rib. Bless his heart, he still feels so bad. Needless to say, I had a bone density test done and I now have osteoporosis, every where, but my right hip and thigh. Only osteopenia there, whoo hoo!
I finished the last of my herceptin treatments as of April 2013. I still have aches and pains and a real bad case of chemo brain. I make the best out each new day. I am still not out in the working world. I don't have the physical or mental health. Gosh I never thought I would be this effected by cancer and all that goes along with it. I was a strong fit person, but it is what it is, and it will all work out and be ok.
I thank God every day for my husband, who has taken a second job to keep us floating. Again, without him, I don't know what I would do. I wouldn't have made it this far, I know that. I also have to tell you how blessed I am in the since that he truly still thinks I'm the most beautiful, sexy women. Tho I don't have 'real' boobs, he still touches them in the same way he always has. Yes I don't have feeling, but I don't need it. The way he touches me with such wanting & love is all I need. We had only been married 7 months when I was diagnosed & so many people were afraid he would leave me. They are the ones who aren't around anymore. We are more in love with each other now than we were then.
So, even with having cancer, I'm happier than I have ever been. I'm a better person because of it. I have learned to stop and smell the roses, so to speak, as the rest of world rushes by not even seeing them. I am grateful to be alive. I do my best to 'pay it forward' however I can. Be it listening to someone, sharing a tip, or just letting them know I understand and am here for them.
Life is great, don't ever take it for granted.
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