Every cloud has a silver lining – the most freeing part about my chemo journey has been…. not styling my hair!
The best advice one of my doctor’s shared with me during my first breast cancer diagnosis- you’re too young, get dressed, put on your jewelry, make-up, etc… so you’re not affected mentally.
This has helped me through my process. My breast cancer journey began when my twin sister found a lump one evening before bed and results revealed: Stage 2B (IIB) invasive ductal carcinoma and the cancerous cells were also in her lymph nodes. After genetic testing, my sister’s results also showed that she was a carrier of the BRCA 1 gene mutation. As a twin, it was recommended that I get a mammogram as well. My results revealed just six weeks apart from my twin sister, an earlier stage of breast cancer: ductal carcinoma in situ.
After countless appointments, research, prayers, guidance, radiation treatments, and being my own advocate; I decided to undergo surgery, a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction. I never would have known I had a time bomb ready to explode! I truly believe it is important to, “listen to your body, advocate for your own health, and treatment methods; it may just be a decision that saves your life”.
My experience and passion to give back is expressed through the mission and vision of PINK “ME” (Providing Information, Networking, and Knowledge, “My Experience”) while supporting other women like myself. One of PINK “ME” s Programs: Connected by Cells, fulfills part of my vision, “changing something that’s commonly heard when diagnosed with breast cancer, having cancerous cells, into a positive virtual support platform that allows women to obtain information needed for their journey, connect and network with others, all while being compassionately supported”.
Also, when given the opportunity/platform I share with others the importance of understanding Oncotype DX tests for those diagnosed with early-stage, estrogen-receptor-positive, HER 2-negative invasive breast cancer and for people diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). While living the mission and vision of PINK “ME” and helping others in the community and thriving in my leadership role- April 2021 I was diagnosed with stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma, five years exactly of my initial breast cancer diagnosis, April 2016 (treatment plan: nipple-sparing double mastectomy, radiation, and reconstruction surgery. And this time doctors, based on my results, recommended chemotherapy as my best bet, ensuring that it would decrease my chances of another reoccurrence. My treatment plan consisted of a lumpectomy after my nipple-sparing double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and discussion regarding next steps related to hormone therapy for my ER+PR+ cell receptors.
I look forward to celebrating my two-time breast cancer survivorship by participating- as in the past, in the breast cancer half marathons in Florida along with other survivors and supporters.