Drew Diagnosed at 21
I was laying in bed with my boyfriend when I found a small almond-shaped lump in my breast in late 2018. I remember immediately crying and freaking out. I called my mom (I was away at college) and she told me it was likely a cyst because she was cystic. It calmed me down for a bit but I had the lump checked by my doctor when I returned home.
The doctors told me it must be a fibroadenoma due to my age and to check back in a few months. I believed them and carried on with my education and soon after graduated. However, something didn’t sit right with me as time went by. My lump had grown so much it could be seen from a side view quite clearly and there was pain shooting down my arm.
I saw another doctor for a second opinion. They insisted on having further testing. A few days later I had scans and a biopsy. The biopsy determined that I did, in fact, have breast cancer. It felt like time stopped. I went to Sloan Kettering and found out more information regarding my diagnosis. I had HER2+ Breast Cancer, grade 2 and it was stage 2 (guess 2 is my lucky number). It came as a shock to everyone.
As you can imagine, my brain went in a million different directions. How could this happen? Will I be okay? I deal with an obsessive-compulsive disorder on top of this diagnosis so I obviously lost my mind. No matter how many people told me I was going to be fine a small voice kept telling me I was going to die. I still have days where that little voice is loud but more often than not I'm positive about the future.
My doctors have been absolutely amazing. They are so confident in my survival and as I write this I'm approaching my last two rounds of Abraxane (allergic to taxol :( ) with a significantly smaller tumor. I still have a double mastectomy with reconstruction and radiation in my future but I genuinely feel like the worst is behind me. Ive never been so excited to have leg hair again.
While a cancer diagnosis is obviously terrible it came with so many amazing things: all the concerns I've had in my daily life were not as important anymore. Things fell into perspective quickly. It filled me with so much desire for life and I feel it gave me so much mental and emotional maturity. I can't thank my family and friends enough for helping me with their love, kindness, and humor. My boyfriend has stuck with me through this crazy journey and is truly the love of my life. Unlucky regarding the diagnosis but lucky to see how loved and valued I am. I'm kicking cancer's butt and I'm going to be a survivor.
Are you a survivor, spouse, friend, or caretaker with a story to tell? We'd love to hear from you.