Alison, diagnosed at 24

I first found the lump and just passed it off like it was nothing. I kept thinking I was only 23 at the time, so it couldn't be anything. I had just had a baby and thought it's nothing to worry about. About 6 months went by and the lump grew bigger and my nipple started to invert and my breast started to cave in. As a nurse I knew something wasn't right. I made an appointment with my MD, and she said it felt like breast cancer. I was floored, but still in denial. I kept thinking, "Oh it's probably a cyst… nothing to worry about."

My MD had scheduled me to have a mammogram and ultrasound ASAP. On December, 17, 2008, my ultrasound showed at least 10 tumors, but the radiologist told me it was very unlikely to be cancer since there were so many tumors; usually it's just 1 tumor, so I had nothing to worry about. They did the mammogram and found calcium deposits so I then had to go have an MRI done that night.

On my way home from having my MRI, the nurse from my MD office called and wanted me to meet with the Dr. the next morning at 8am, I told my husband something is not right; she doesn't see patients on that day and is never in that early. My husband said, "Well she just wants to ease your mind that's why she wants you to come in first thing in the morning."

So I went to the Dr. and she said, "Alison, you know it's not good" My heart just sank and asked her what she meant. She said the most dreaded words: "You have breast cancer". I lost it. I could think about was my 3 small children and my husband, how I had just lost my dad 9yrs ago to brain cancer and what would I do without my kids. My Dr. said she would call around and find me the best oncologist. I asked her if we should have a biopsy done she said they were 99.99% sure it was cancer because it had spread to my lymph nodes, so that day I had 6 biopsies done, all that came back malignant.

On Christmas Eve, 2008, I had a PET scan done to see if the cancer had spread. I got the news that my cancer had not spread and the MD said he was very surprised to see that it hadn't since I am very advanced. All the praying I, my family, and my friends did paid off. On New Year's Eve that year I had surgery to put my port in, and on January 2nd, 2009 I started my first chemo treatment. Every week I get herceptin for 1 hr, and then every 3 weeks my chemo lasts 7hrs, for 8 weeks. My herceptin will continue for a year. Then I will have a double masectomy and then start radiation. I have a long road to travel but I have 3 little reasons to fight for my life.

If this is your story and you’d like to update it, please contact YSC by emailing us at stories@youngsurvival.org.