“What do you do when you hear those three words, “you’ve got cancer”? As a three time cancer thriver, those words no longer strike fear in me. You see, I have found Strength in my cancer journey.”
My first diagnosis with breast cancer was in 2002 at the age of 43 after finding a lump while doing a monthly self breast check. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Ductual Carcinoma. My treatment plan included a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. When the doctor told me my diagnosis, my whole world stopped at that moment in time. Those three words are not the words you ever want to hear. My journey back to the “”new”” normal lasted almost 16 years. In that time period, I have watched my children become adults, have had a successful career and have traveled the world with my husband.
During that time period, I continued to do monthly breast checks, along with yearly mammograms and breast MRI’s. In 2017 a routine MRI revealed some atypical cells in the opposite breast of my original cancer. As a result, I decided to do a preventive double mastectomy with reconstruction because of my past history of breast cancer and because of a genetic mutation for breast cancer called CHEK2. My patholgy report showed atypical cells were the beginning of a second cancer diagnosis. Was diagnosed with Stage 0, DCIS. Was also diagnosed at the same time with a chronic leukemia. This time there wasn’t as much fear with the diagnosis. You see, you can find strength in your cancer journey. My words of wisdom would be know your own body, do monthly breast checks and when in doubt be pro-active and talk to your doctors.”