Stage 2, Arizona

You have to thrive to survive!

I am a two time cancer survivor. I learned I had stomach lymphoma in Nov. 2015 after the gastric sleeve surgery and have been in remission since 2016. Due to the pandemic in 2020, I skipped my annual mammogram and rescheduled it for January of 2021.

The day of my mammogram, I was called back for an ultrasound and biopsies. I was so thankful that Banner Imaging acted so quickly.  Five days later, I was diagnosed with Stage 2, triple + cancer in my right breast and axillary lymph nodes. This type is complex and acts differently than other breast cancers with regard to both cell behavior and the response to treatment. I knew my physical and mental fight had to harder, longer and my faith had to be the strongest ever. Everything I was educated on and told or read of other’s experiences was magnified by 10.

Chemo made me so ill in March and April but shrunk the tumors enough to have a bilateral mastectomy on June 2, 2021 with lymph node dissection and insertion of expanders. On July 21, 2021, the left expander had to be surgically removed for to a serious infection. Although this setback was grueling, I fully recovered and resumed radiation daily for 5 weeks. I have to get through chemo once every 3 weeks until mid April 2022.

I had a mini meltdown when I was told I her to have chemo for 1 year, but I’m very thankful my cancer team is going after any and all lingering cells that can create havoc. On November 24, 2021 I’m again physically and mentally preparing to have reconstruction surgery. I’m choosing DIEP Flap reconstruction, using my own tissue from my abdomen to create breasts, trusting my skilled team of plastic, micro-surgeons. This surgery is more complex and the recovery will be longer, but after all I’ve been through, I know these last 2 phases are minor speed bumps along my journey and that I’m in great hands. I’m so grateful to have amazing, positive family and friends whose support reminds me daily of just how valuable & precious life is.

Your entire reaction to how you cope with breast cancer is your saving grace. I now feel I have a purpose and calling to honor breast cancer survivors and caregivers, educate the public about prevention and detection to reduce the risk of the disease, and raise funds to help end breast cancer. My loved ones deserve the best of me!