Bree Diagnosed at 26
I remember when I got the call. I was sitting at home on a summer afternoon right after I had recently moved in with my boyfriend. He's the one who actually told me to make an appointment to get a breast exam. It's because of him that I'm alive today and receiving the treatment I need. I didn't have insurance at the time so I went to the free clinic. This was during COVID-19 and the lockdown, so amidst the chaos that was life, I found out I had cancer. Like many stories, everything stopped. Everything went from being vibrant to dull. I didn't know what to say or how to act. I called my mom and she showed up within seconds. I couldn't breathe.
It runs in my family, and my mom is BRCA-1 Positive. I lost my grandma & aunt to this awful disease. Turns out I was positive as well, but never knew. I've gotten breast exams and mammograms in the past, but the doctors always told me it was nothing. One of the biggest myths I've heard was "if it doesn't hurt, it's not cancer". To this day, I can still hear that in the back of my mind. My oncologist informed me that since breast cancer is in fatty tissue, most people don't notice it at first.
I'm a Estrogen/Progesterone negative and HER2 positive, so my cancer is very aggressive. Since I've started treatment I've endured chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, starting radiation and doing more chemo on the back end. I've been fighting for over six months, and I still have a ways to go. I remember sitting in the chair thinking "I don't belong here". It's still hard for me to show up to each session and keep it together. Especially since most places aren't allowing any visitors to be there with you. I had to do it alone, and it's the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Most days I don't know how I do it. I will say that I have the best support system and I am very grateful I got diagnosed when I did.
I'm young, strong and resilient. I've met so many amazing people and made friendships along the way. I am proud to be a part of the fighters club. Since then, I've learned to live everyday to it's fullest potential and not take anything for granted.
Are you a survivor, spouse, friend, or caretaker with a story to tell? We'd love to hear from you.