Shannon Diagnosed at 36

"If you have been diagnosed know that you are not alone! You can beat this disease! You can survive!"

I was diagnosed with stage 3b Invasive Ductile Carcinoma (ER/PR +) in September of 2012 at the age of 36. At that time I had a 16 year old son and a 6 year old step-daughter; my husband and I had only been married for three months. 

I was diagnosed after finding a small lump in my right breast while doing a self-breast exam in the bath tub one evening. Something inside me just knew it was cancer. The next day I made an appointment with my General Practitioner. Upon his exam, the doctor advised that I "wait and see" for one month since I was menstruating at the time. Three weeks later the lump was still there and had not changed so I scheduled an appointment with my Gynecologist. 

The day I was examined by the Gynecologist he immediately sent me to the breast center to have a mammogram done; my first mammogram. After my mammogram I was asked to wait for the doctor to come and speak to me. When the doctor entered the room she informed me that she wanted to perform an ultrasound which was done immediately. After the ultrasound she told me we needed to do a biopsy. I was nervous and did not have my husband or a family member with me so we scheduled the biopsy for the next morning.

My husband went with me for the biopsy. I remember laying on the table and crying as I just knew what the outcome was going to be; I felt it in my heart - I had cancer. After the biopsy I returned to work and waited. Early that afternoon I received a call from my Gynecologists office and the nurse asked that I come in later that afternoon. With my husband and my sister by my side I was told the scariest three words a person can hear - you have cancer.

After a whirl wind of information, doctors’ appointments and scheduling I underwent a bilateral mastectomy, six months of chemotherapy (Taxol, Adryomiacin and Cytoxin) and thirty-five radiation treatments. That was followed by a latissimus dorsi flap and reconstruction. Then began Tamoxifen. Tamoxifen and I simply did not get along; therefore, I underwent a hysterectomy and began Arimidex.

This October 2015 I will be two years cancer free!!

There are many resources available to women diagnosed with breast cancer and YSC is the BEST for younger women diagnosed. I volunteer with YSC as a way to 'give back'. If you have been diagnosed know that you are not alone! Educate yourself on the type of cancer you have and reach out to others. You can beat this disease! You can survive!

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