I was diagnosed in November 2011 at the age of 28. I accidentally found the lump myself and was passed on for weeks because three separate doctors tried to reassure me it was nothing. Because I was so young and healthy, no one was concerned that it was anything harmful. Finally, after many ultrasounds and a follow-up needle biopsy, it was confirmed to be a very small breast cancer tumor. No one in my family has a history of breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter. However I did test positive for the BRCA2 mutation, which came as just as much a shock as the cancer diagnosis.
A month later I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. My prognosis was very good: stage 1, no lymph nodes involved. We caught the cancer so early that my doctors were undecided about whether or not I needed to proceed with chemotherapy. Because of the BRCA2 genetic mutation, it was ultimately the deciding factor to complete chemo. I underwent 4 rounds of chemotherapy and endured it surprisingly well because of my young age and otherwise good health.
I completed two years on Tamoxifen and then took a break from it to try and conceive another baby. None of my doctors knew what to expect because my fertility had been damaged from the chemo. But much to our surprise I was able to conceive on my own and gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl just 3.5 years after my diagnosis! (I then resumed my Tamoxifen for the remainder of its prescribed duration)
I feel strongly about sharing my story and raising awareness because I am that 1% that was diagnosed before age 30. Young women CAN and DO get breast cancer. I am so lucky that early detection saved my life. Now that I am armed with the knowledge of what I have been through, my desire is to help & support others going through the same thing. The future is bright for me, and I want to make sure it is for everyone else on this journey too!
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