Ryn Sloane was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 at the age of 38. This is her story in her own words.
When I was diagnosed, I was fit, took care of myself, had a young family and had no history of breast cancer in my family.
When I discovered a lump in my left breast in September 2018 while visiting family, I just had that sinking feeling. In just a few weeks, I was seen by my doctor, biopsied, scanned, tested and diagnosed with invasive ER/PR+ HER- ductal carcinoma. I had a double mastectomy with expanders within six weeks of diagnosis and went from my strongest to my absolute weakest in what seemed like overnight.
I was devastated.
The worst experience was in the hospital after surgery. The nurse came to my room with a walker and said I was going to be discharged after I walked down the hallway.
I was so confused. I tried sitting up but couldn’t. The nurse had to push me up. As I slid off the bed, the walker kept me from falling to the ground. In that moment, I realized I could barely stand. The walk out of the room and down a short stretch of hallway was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.
To realize I went in for a mastectomy but that my legs weren’t working properly was completely upsetting to me. I was not at all prepared that I wouldn’t be able to walk with any ease or that I would be hunched over like an elderly woman for a few weeks.
I was confused and felt like I was trapped inside of my body wanting to jump out, but I couldn’t. The physical pain was intense and I remember sitting with my fists tight when the “zaps” would hit at any moment.
I had to ask for help constantly and discovered being humble in humility. I’m very strong-willed, yet I wasn’t able to cut my own food. I just didn’t have any strength.
The couch became my full-time rest stop for months on end. I slept on it, I ate on it, I lived on it. As a productive person, I was suddenly in a position of having time on my hands and nothing to do. Hours dragged by as I watched mind-numbing television for hours on end. It felt as if I was on pause while the rest of the world buzzed on without me.
I was lonely but determined as all hell not to give up to cancer. I wasn’t going down without a fight – even if I didn’t have any strength.
As time went on, I slowly started standing up straighter. I envisioned myself becoming stronger than I was before the diagnosis and never lost sight of it. I continued pushing through all of the treatments, appointments and follow up surgery. After many months of gentle exercise, I was slowly able to move my arms above my head.
Cancer was a teacher of many things. I was able to laugh and find joy in the simple things life offers that we often lose sight of. I believe I have evolved into a stronger, happier and more compassionate human because of all that I learned throughout my battle and recovery. I dedicated the rest of my life to helping other survivors heal their invisible wounds from cancer so that they, too, can reclaim their lives.
Statements and opinions expressed are that of the individual and do not express the views or opinions of Susan G. Komen. This information is being provided for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Persons with breast cancer should consult their healthcare provider with specific questions or concerns about their treatment.