My name is Lindsay Shea and I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the young age of 30 during the height of the pandemic in May 2020. I had no family history and I discovered the bump one day when I got out of the shower. I had no symptoms, and I was too young to receive yearly screening. I immediately made an appointment with my primary care physician and they honestly didn’t think it was anything serious at my first appointment. I pushed to get a mammogram, and they said immediately after I needed a “emergency biopsy”. I received the painful biopsy along with several imaging tests, like ultrasound. The following day, my doctor called me to confirm it was cancer.
I researched the best doctors in my area, and went to MGH. Where they repeated mammogram and several other tests. I did genetic testing as well ancd i do not have the BRCA gene thankfully, but it made more of a mystery to get cancer this young with no family history.
My doctors told me I would have to start chemo right away, but fortunately I was able to do IVF treatments for approximately two weeks. Which I am very thankful for, because some patients do not get that opportunity. I did my egg retrieval in June 2020 and they were able to freeze over 50 eggs! Immediately after my egg retrieval, I started AC chemo for 6 treatments bi-weekly.
The doctors didn’t like that the AC wasn’t working to shrink my tumor. The doctors then switched my chemo to weekly treatments with Taxol & Carbo. They also added in bi-weekly immunotherapy treatments. After I was done with chemo & immunotherapy, I had about a month off before I had my double mastectomy with reconstruction in December 2020. I started my 25 treatments of radiation in February of this year and this believe it or not was the hardest part of my treatments. My doctors put me on a trial drug which I believe made my treatment much harder. I was also given a bolis (wet towel) over my right breast during every treatment which irritated my skin so bad I had to go to the ER twice. My heart rate was skyrocketing & I wasn’t able to do any activity along with a very bad wound from radiation. I was given my fourth blood transfusion and saw a wound specialist which luckily did the trick. I then started an oral chemo in April 2021 and I am still currently on this medication. I believe I will go a hormone medication once I am done with this oral chemo for 5-10 years.
It’s amazing how naive I was about cancer and how long this journey would be, but I am so thankful to still be here fighting!