Adrienne's Story, diagnosed at 25
In April of 2003, a lump was found in my right breast. I immediately contacted my mother, and she advised me to call the doctor first thing in the morning. First thing Monday morning I called the doctor, and they told me to come in immediately. The doctor definitely said she felt a lump and sent me for a mammogram and sonogram ASAP. Well ASAP turned into a three-week wait. And within those three weeks, my boyfriend was gone.
I walked around in a daze and searched the internet day and night for any kind of info on what could be wrong. I went in finally on April 21, 2003, and they first did a mammogram which picked up the lump, then they did a sonogram to confirm and decide if they had enough evidence to do a core needle biopsy that day. Still in a daze and unsure what was really going on inside my body, I got the call a few days later that it was breast cancer. I was at work by myself, and I just cried. I didn't understand, didn't know why or how. The best words I heard that day came from my boss indirectly, "Now is the time she need to fight." I didn't want to be "sick."
I went to Montefiore Hospital for an appointment with the surgeon. I was scared and cried through the whole appointment. I even had the nurse crying when she realized I was only 25 years old. I wanted a second opinion, and I went to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, where it was confirmed once again.
I decided to go with MSKCC to fight my battle. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma of the right breast. I had a lumpectomy on May 22, 2003. I had my first round of eight CMF chemotherapy treatments on June 27, 2003. I did chemo every three weeks until December 2, 2003, when I had my final round. Chemo was hard, especially having it postponed twice because my White Blood Count was too low. That summer I celebrated my 26th birthday on Thursday, August 28th with a new mind frame. My closet family and friends went out to dinner and celebrated ME. I was lucky to be and still am surrounded by great people. On Friday morning, I went to chemo and was determined to hit the club and party my birthday weekend and I sure did ... lol. I began radiation early January and went until early February. For 30 plus days, 5 days a week, weekends and holidays off ... lol. Sun, rain or snow I trooped from the Bronx to work in Harlem and then to Manhattan after work for radiation basically everyday; can we say tiring?
I was on Tamoxifen for the last five years. Now 30 years old, on February 29, 2008, I had my semi-annual chemo doctor appointment. About five weeks later, my nurse Aimee called me to ask me to come in to redo one of the tests, the CA 15-3 tumor marker. My levels had elevated to 41 and, even at the highest in its range, it should have been 36 at the most. Well, when I redid the blood work, it was now 46 in April. They had enough evidence and asked me to do a CT scan and bone scan, which I did on April 11th. The scans came back showing nodules. The CT scan showed nodules in my right lung and nodules on my pelvis in the bone scan. Further testing needed to be done, so I was sent for a PET scan on April 21st. The PET scan showed metabolic activity of the cells after drinking a disgusting Raspberry flavored drink to highlight my insides. Activity was going on that was not expected. The doctor then decided I needed to have a biopsy of my right lung.
I was scheduled for an interventional radiology biopsy for May 16th. I arrived bright and early at 6:00 a.m. for the biopsy. I was made very comfortable and the biopsy was done. I woke up coughing blood but was still out of it. I came around and was out of the hospital by 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Well, I called the hospital May 20th and was told that the results were positive for breast cancer in my lung/pelvis. I am scheduled for a treatment plan consultation for May 23rd. I'm going to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center again to fight this battle. I'm scared, bitter, mad and angry. I've begun treatment again.
There will be no surgery, chemo or radiation. I am HER negative and estrogen positive. At 30 years old, I'm being put on Lupron Injections, Letrozole and Zoledronic Acid. Lupron Injections are going to throw me into a post menopausal state (hot flashes, irratiability and all that comes with being post menopausal and as if I'm not miserable and irratible on a bad day). So, no children for me. My mother will never be a grandma. There's always adoption, but it's not the same. I'm not ready to deal with that. My period will stop. I did my first shot yesterday. The Letrozole is for my bones. I'll get my first IV next Friday. And I will start the Zoledronic Acid pills midweek, those will work in conjunction with the Lupron shots to stop any other organs from making estrogen. They spread all the medication out not to cause too much confusion in my body.
Update: Well, this story only gets better: I went in for a mammogram and treatment on June 20th. My first appointment was at 9 a.m. for a mammogram. They made me crazy, because they kept having to take more and more pictures of the right breast, only to finally do a sonogram with the doctor. They found a lump in my right breast again and said I needed a core needle biopsy. They were able to squeeze me in that day to do it. A few days later the results were in ... positive for cancer AGAIN. What can I say or do???? I wasn't too surprised with everything else going on. I will remain on the same treatment, at least no surgery. My biggest fear was a masectomy of my breast since this was the second time.
I then had an appointment with orthopedic doctor for the pelvis who referred me back to my radiologist. I went in for a consult and planning for 14 treatments. I began radiation on August 8. I'm not happy with the throwing my life out of sync again, but what else can I do. I've created my own lil' mantra, "Keeping my head up and hopes high." I take it one day at a time. If i feel like crying, I cry, wipe tears away and move forward with this journey I'm on.