Nicole Diagnosed at 27

"There is hope after cancer and I am proof, never give up!"

I have debated a long time about sharing my story with others because I was not sure if other people would want to hear it.

I was diagnosed with stage 2 triple negative breast cancer at the age of 27 after finding a lump under my arm pit. I remember those days so clearly as if they happened yesterday. After the diagnosis at our local hospital they immediately sent me over to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester (we only live 90 minutes away). We met with the oncology team at Mayo and the plan was immediately developed.

On June 19 I began my 8 rounds of chemotherapy. On July 1, I noticed my hair was starting to fall out and on July 3, we had a pizza party with my closest family and friends and I shaved my head. I completed my chemotherapy in October 2012 and 2 weeks later I underwent a double mastectomy.

After surgery it was determined there was a small amount of cancer found in one of my lymph nodes and it was determined I should have radiation to make sure all of the cancer was gone. I started radiation in December and completed my 28 rounds in February 2013. Radiation was by far the worst and by the end of my treatment I had blisters from just below my arm pit to midway down my rib cage. In June 2013, I developed a staph infection and was hospitalized for a week and my implant on my left side had to be removed. In May 2014, I underwent reconstructive surgery and chose to have the diep tram flap surgery for reconstruction.

Through my journey my family and then boyfriend were by my side for everything. In September 2014, my boyfriend proposed to me on a family vacation to Michigan and we set a wedding date for October 2015. In February 2015, my fiancé and I found out we were expecting (this was a complete surprise after everything I had been through). In August 2015 we welcomed a healthy son into this world and he was truly our miracle baby.

I am now 3 ½ years cancer free! I am a wife, mom, and a SURVIVOR!

Cancer does not have to take away everything, hope is a powerful thing. I am truly blessed to have made it through all of this and it is hard to believe what I have been through to get to this point. There is hope after cancer and I am proof, never give up!

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