Erikka Youngstrom Erikka's Journey

First post: 8/14/2017 Latest post: 8/15/2017
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A dear friend of mine was diagnosed with DCIS breast cancer from a mammogram this Spring.  In visiting with her about it, she learned that I, at 44, had never had a mammogram.  I am a fitness instructor and consider myself strong and perfectly healthy.  I don't have breast cancer or much cancer at all in my family.  I "eat green," use deodorant instead of antiperspirant, use glass not plastic, stand away from the microwave, etc.  If there is a health trend- I try to listen and adapt my lifestyle.  I did not consider myself a remote candidate for breast cancer.  But, upon my friend's insistence, I got a mammogram... for her.  Just to say I did.  And....

I was originally diagnosed with DCIS, myself.  In June, when we did the lumpectomy to remove the DCIS, another more aggressive cancer was found alongside the DCIS, as well as in the safety margins they take out.  I had Stage 1, triple positive breast cancer (estrogen positive, progesterone positive, HER2positive). That was pretty shocking, I will admit.  In July, I had another surgery to remove lymph nodes to check if the cancer had spread to other parts of my bodyand they were thankfully clean.  

I didn't connect to my first oncologist, and then found a wonderful one.  We were both not convinced that I was disease-free at that point, but did an MRI to search for irregularities and also genetic testing.  Thankfully- the genetic testing turned out negative, and my kids do not have to worry about this being passed on to them.  The MRI did not lend us a lot of info either.  After much debate and consideration around several different paths of care, I decided to get a double mastectomy, about a month ago.

It has been a LONG month.  LONG.  I wonder if I will ever "learn how to be patient."  I don't know if I have gotten any better at it this summer, but I certainly have had plenty of opportunities to practice in 2017!  ;)

 I have been flying under the radar this summer because I have not wanted to burden anyone, and it all happened so fast!  I just wanted to wait until my first surgery was over, and then assure people that I was ok.  And then it turned into something much more.   

More than anything, I wanted to share this story now to encourage people to get that mammogram, like my friend did for me. If this was found later, and my lymph nodes had not come back clean, this would be a very different story.  I feel so lucky that this cancer was found early and I have an absolutely amazing care team.  The Breast Cancer Resource Center of Austin is spectacular, as well.  

Having said that, I would really love your prayers as I head into my third surgery and recover.

Thank you for your concern and love.   Eric will update this website post surgery, so please visit again if looking for updates.  My surgery is from 10:30-3:30 tomorrow.  First update should be here around 5:30/6.  

XOXO
Erikka

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