Hello everyone! Welcome to my CaringBridge site where I will share updates about my journey as a new, young-ish breast cancer patient.
For those of you that don't know me, I'm a wife, mother of two young daughters, a communications and public relations professional, a former TV news producer, an active community volunteer and, now, a Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer patient.
My story of detecting my cancer only goes back to this past August when I went in for my annual exam. As usual, my doctor did a breast exam and found nothing abnormal. He even reminded me that starting at age 40, I should get annual mammograms. I chuckled, knowing that my 40th was just a few months away.
Well, so much for waiting. My lump showed up less than one month after that appointment. I found it while doing a self-exam.
At first, I wasn’t overly concerned. I had a fibroadenoma, a benign tumor, removed from my breast when I was 20. I thought maybe this lump was another one of those. But to be safe, I went to get it checked out. The same doctor I saw a month earlier confirmed it was there.
That launched the first cascade of tests – 3D mammogram, ultrasound, and then, a biopsy on both the lump and my nearby lymph nodes. When that doctor said, “I’m really concerned about this”, that’s when it hit me. This wasn’t another fibroadenoma.
I received the dreaded call 24 hours later – “You have cancer.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I cried. And cried. Then, I did my best to compose myself and ask all the questions I could think of in that moment - what kind was it? What stage do I have? How common is my cancer? Has it spread anywhere else? What kind of treatments will I need? What does my prognosis look like? And how long will this all take?
Additional testing showed the cancer spread to my lymph nodes on my left side and to my left pelvic bone - officially making it Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.
The answers feel like they’ve come really fast, yet slow at the same time. Sometimes the news is good. Other times, it’s scary and uncertain. The doctors and nurses I’m working with have been incredible, so far – they are all dedicated to making sure I’m getting the best treatment possible so I can have the best possible chance of survival.