In the Spring of 2005, at the age of 51, my yearly mammogram showed Stage O DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) in my right breast. Mammotomes were performed on both my breasts. It verified the cancer in my right breast and my left breast was cancer free. I was totally shocked and stunned because there weren’t any lumps or abnormalities in the appearance of my right breast and no history of breast cancer in my family. Instead of a Lumpectomy, I opted for a Mastectomy to remove the gunshot pattern of abnormal cells, ridding my body completely of cancer, or any risk of it. I was cancer free for several years.
After Thanksgiving in 2011, at my yearly mammogram on my left breast, I noticed a lump had formed on my right side Mastectomy scar, which is rare. The mammogram and a node biopsy showed it to be Stage 3A HER2+ breast cancer, very aggressive and deadly. Treatment was Node Dissection Surgery where 7 of 18 nodes were cancerous. Iodine, PET, Bone Scans were administered. Treatment required surgery to install a port in my upper chest and 5 1/2 months of real potent TCH (Taxotere, Carboplatin and Herceptin) Chemotherapy followed by 33 Radiation Treatments. I now have one long scar that covers 25% of my chest and I take Tamoxifen once daily. After these very aggressive treatments, I have Osteopenia (which is a precursor for Osteoporosis). I have been receiving Prolia injections twice yearly and they have helped increase my bone density.
Weathering the storms for me has given me more confidence to face the dangerous tides in life. I am now over 5 years out and cancer free. I am alive because of three reasons: the Grace of God, advanced Physicians & Medicine, and my life partner David who just passed away last year after helping me through my battles. Through the rough waters I have gained an inner strength, confidence and wear my scars with pride. I am now pursuing a modeling career and look forward to inspiring others through their storms.