My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2009. The first in our family to be diagnosed, she was in her early 60’s. She opted for a bilateral mastectomy and had chemotherapy. She’s done just fine ever since!
A few months later in November, I was first diagnosed with breast cancer: lobular, ER+ and HER2-. I had a lumpectomy and chemotherapy (TC) from January to early March 2010, followed by 38 daily doses of radiation in April to May. After that I was on tamoxifen for a while and ultimately daily Aromasin tablets, which I still take.
In February 2017 I had another clear mammogram. When had an annual check-up with my oncologist I asked if I could have an ultrasound due to my dense breast tissue. I had recently been reading about the dense breast laws. Since I had had a clear mammogram in February, what would be the problem? On June 12, I went in for an ultrasound. Everything had been checked and we were about finished when the tech noticed swollen lymph nodes in my upper left arm.
Long story short: ductal breast cancer – not in my breasts at all – only in my arm. After much consultation and tests I decided to have a bilateral mastectomy (I knew all along that’s what I would do but the doctors just couldn’t figure out how the cancer wasn’t in my breasts but only in my arm.) I had 34 nodes taken from my arm, 26 were positive. Still a few nodes under my collar bone were positive. The cancer was ER/PR- & HER2- (the dreaded triple negative).
After 6 weeks of recovery, I had 4 Adromycin tx (dose dense) followed by 12 weekly Taxol tx. Followed by 5 weeks of radiation. Remaining spots of cancer under my collarbone were gone after Adromycin tx, per my PET scan in November. To say the least, I was elated! I felt the Taxol & radiation were just extra insurance.
So today, 2-1/2 years since the cancer has been gone from my body, I am thankful to my God & for life! Thankful for family & friends. Thankful for my fantastic medical team. Just…thankful! What’s next? Periodic PET scans and check-ups. Anxious moments and lots of prayer. Leaning on God’s Word that brings so much comfort. Continuing to trust! Be joyful!!
Lastly, just last week my baby sister reached out to tell me that she has now been bitten by this dreaded disease. Like me, she has the diagnosis I had 10 years ago. She will have a bilateral mastectomy next week. I hate that she has to walk this path, but so very thankful for medical professionals and technology and research!
My advice… Take heart! Look upward! Be JOYful!! Find someone that has walked the path and grab them to walk along the journey you’re on. Take help from those that offer it! Be grateful and gracious! (The photo is of me & my mother in October 2016 at a Paint the Town Pink event; before I was diagnosed again in 2017.)