Everyone has a story. For me, there is a certain catharsis in speaking about it…in a way a sense of a burden being lifted. I have always been interested in the study of epidemiology as far as I can remember. Even after college, I continued to focus my career on clinical research and public health.
Strangely, I have always had an awareness of breast cancer, but I never thought that I could be one of its statistics. I have no history of breast cancer and practice an active, healthy lifestyle. In 2008, I felt chest pains and something unusual in my breast. I really had no clue what would happen and was terrified. Two weeks later I was diagnosed with Stage II invasive ductal carcinoma and soon after had a nipple-skin-sparing mastectomy with lymph nodes removed.
I didn’t know that I would be able to endure all that chemotherapy, radiotherapy, adjuvant hormonal therapy, surgeries, and hospitalizations. All I can tell you is this — I am 42 years old today and have carried scars from my cancer inside and outside when I barely just turned 31 years old.
I didn’t realize how closely connected my breasts, hair on my head, eyebrows, and eyelashes were to my sense of self and femininity until I was faced with losing them. Sometimes, I look at myself and wonder what my life would be like if I never had breast cancer. And you know what…I would not have changed anything. I am always learning about myself, my strength, and my resilience. I want you to know I kicked cancer in the nuts and now work for a leading medical technology company focused on improving women’s health and being!