2016 turned out to be what seemed like the end of my life…but it was not. 2016 made me a stronger young women. My fears were suddenly nothing compared to the journey I was about to embark on…the cancer journey. August 9th, 2016 was the beginning of a new life for me. I woke up to hear my mother’s cries telling me, “it’s positive.” Everything for me was a blur, but I did not cry. August 9th was the day I found out I had Stage 1 Breast Cancer. But this was not any type of cancer. It was the aggressive kind. Upon waiting for more doctor visits and the day I would officially start chemotherapy, my cancer reached stage 3 in a matter of two weeks.
At the time, I was only 22 years old. I welcomed my 23rd birthday receiving my second round of chemotherapy and no hair on my head. Quite depressing, but to be honest I was focused on the finish line. After eight rounds of chemotherapy I finally said goodbye to Adriamycin, Cytotaxan, and Taxotere. My life was complete, however, I still anticipated my bilateral mastectomy. To be honest, losing my breasts did not effect me in any way. I look at it as, its either my life or my breasts. Either way I had a 50/50 chance. So I opted for my life. I could not tell you how many times I wanted my breasts to be removed. I was ready to eliminate both the day I was diagnosed.
February 8th, I said goodbye to my 32A boobies and welcomed the reconstruction of my new pair. Boy, was that the most painful surgery of my life. But it does not end there. After having a lymph node biopsy during surgery, it was discovered that one out of three lymph nodes removed showed signs of microscopic cancer cells present. Now, I am scheduled to receive radiation therapy as a preventive measure. However, more challenging events have occurred since then. On March 29th, I was scheduled for an emergency surgery to clear out a staph infection found in the area of my left breast. Remaining positive, I was more than happy to undergo the surgery to replace my breast expander. Now, radiation is pushed back for a few more weeks until my immune system is stronger and my breast wound heals!
But the truth is 23 years old or not, I am still standing, I am still breathing, and I am still me. I hope to inspire other young women to self check their breasts because the pain I endured throughout my battle is something I would not wish upon anyone! My perspective on life has changed completely and its a perspective not many can relate too. I can tell you one thing, cancer was a life changing experience, but I am a happier person now than I have ever been before. Life through my eyes and any other person who has had cancer is different than what it used to be.