Nicholle Chadwick



Not only a change

We all say cancer is life changing because it is, but for me it didnt just change my life it took the life I knew. I remember the exact day I accidentally found a lump in my breast. I waited a few days to tell anyone and once I did my boyfriend found three more. I was slightly dismissed by the doctor because of my age and lack of family history but she said “we will order a mammo and ultrasound just in case.” Those tests werent good enough of course so I then got an MRI, which told me I needed a biopsy. I went for a biopsy telling myself up until the night I got a call that theres no way I had breast cancer. I got a call on a Monday from my breast surgeon- I didnt recognize the number so I put it on speaker phone during a break in my work day and heard the words I have bad news, it is cancer. Unfortunately my 15 year old son heard the words at the exact same time, which hurt me a lot more than the actual diagnosis. The dr assured me it was going to be an easy fix just surgery and maybe a year of my life would be difficult. Well here I am to tell you thats not what happened. We found out that I had Stage 2 triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma with the BRCA 1 gene. But how with no family history? Well my oncologist didnt understand so I decided to do an ancestry test. Of course Ive already been through the emotions of finding out I had cancer, needed chemo, would need a double mastectomy, and then lost my father a week after my diagnosis to cirrhosis of the liver. So why not take an ancestry test to find out where this gene came from. Once I got the results I learned that my biological father was not the man that I knew my entire life and that had just passed away but another man that passed away years ago. My life was completely turned upside down. I found out I had a sister with the BRCA 1 gene, that ovarian and breast cancer run in my family, and nothing was ever the same. Life was completly changed and I had this gut wrenching feeling that I couldve prevented this if I only knew who I was- who my father was. I couldnt live in regret so I went through my treatment of chemo, then a bilateral mastectomy, then radiation. I took a day at a time and am awaiting my exchange surgery and will undergo a total hysterectomy in the upcoming years to prevent ovarian cancer. Today I am focusing on what I can which is my mental health, taking care of me and my kids. I decided the best way I can do that is to continue to help others since I am a therapist and spread awareness. I have been working hard to put together a group specific to those affected by breast cancer. Yes breast cancer changes all of us and its important that we learn what our new normal looks like because we will never be the same, some more than others.