April Diagnosed at 31
My 2012 started out pretty standard for a single, 31-year-old. I'd made it through all the holiday gatherings and was excited for all the new year would bring. I had also just met a guy that I really liked for a change! Everything was “normal”. I made my yearly appointment with my gynecologist for a wellness screening.
Immediately upon my breast exam, Katie (the NP) felt a lump in my left breast. She asked if I had noticed it before. I distinctly remembered doing a self-exam on Thanksgiving Day 2011, just two months prior. Katie assured me that it was likely nothing more than a cyst, but asked if she could make me an appointment for a mammogram. She worked her magic and got me an appointment the next day at an imaging center. January 9, 2012, (4 days later) I received a phone call from the imaging center. She asked if I wanted to make an appointment to speak with the doctor. As soon as they asked me to make an appointment I knew the results were cancer. I called my gynecologist’s office. They were miracle workers, and got me into a surgeon’s office that afternoon. And that’s when I learned that I had Stage II invasive ductal carcinoma, Grade 3, ER+/PR+/Her2-. And, then I drove home and met my boyfriend’s parents for the first time because, you know, “normal.”.
My BRCA1/BRCA2 genetic testing came back negative and I decided on a lumpectomy to remove my 2.5 cm tumor. On February 2, 2012, the tumor was removed with a sentinel node biopsy that showed lymph node involvement. I went ahead and had reconstructive surgery on February 7, 2012. I then focused on healing so that I could proceed with chemotherapy. A port-a-cath was inserted on March 29 and the next day, I had my first round of chemo. On October 12, 2012, I had my first radiation treatment.
Finally, on November 19, 2012, I had my last radiation treatment and was presented with a certificate for finishing treatment. Just in time for Thanksgiving. And I am very thankful. And, in one year, I’ll marry that boy that I met 18 days before I was diagnosed with cancer. And, we’re learning to adjust to a new “normal” a little more every day.
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