Jodi Diagnosed at 30

"I have learned to take a deep breath and realize what is important in life and focus my energy on that."

One night while watching TV in bed, I felt a lump on my chest. I didn't think much of it. I checked the next day and it was still there, and the next and the next, so I went to my gyn and she told me that it was nothing and I could wait 6 months and see if it went. After all, I was only 30 years old. Knowing that my Grandmom and Aunt had breast cancer, I could not wait. The next day I got a mammo and ultrasound and was referred to a surgeon. The surgeon said it was a cyst, but let's remove it. My only concern was would I be able to attend a playdate with my 2 year old son the day after surgery.

On April 13, 2009 I was told it was stage 2a cancer. At the time the only thing I could think of was that I wanted to have another child and did not want to loose my hair. After many opinions and appointments, I picked my team and got started on what was a whirlwind journey. I had a lumpectomy, did fertility preservation, participated in a clinical trial which was 16 rounds of chemo and then went on to radiation and tamoxifen. I also learned that I had the BRCA1 mutation. After finishing everything, it was time for my first post treatment mammo. I was a wreck that day and after being sent back into the machine multiple times, I decided it was time for a prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction. Because of the prior surgeries and radiation, I went with the lat flap reconstruction.

After being on tamoxifen for 2.5 years, my husband and I decided to stop and try to get pregnant. At this time I learned that I was in menopause from chemo and could not get pregnant on my own. Then my journey began with IVF. I had two failed frozen embryo transfers and we had two embryos left. It was a miracle that they both took and my twin girls are now 14 months. In April of 2015, I decided to have my ovaries and tubes removed because of the BRCA1 mutation.

During my treatment, I found an amazing group of YSC ladies in Philly. They were all so supportive and I quickly got involved with planning events and being on the leadership team. After noticing there was no local group for young survivors near me, I started a support group after going through the YSC Peer Mentor training. I am now 6.5 years out. I have learned to take a deep breath and realize what is important in life and focus my energy on that.

 I put exercise and nutrition on my list of top priorities, along with volunteering and living each day to the fullest. Just waking up each morning next to my amazing husband and seeing my 8.5 year old son and twin girls' smiling faces is a blessing that I am thankful for each and every day. I am proud to be a YSC State Leader and make sure that no young women goes through breast cancer alone.

Watch my video below of things I wish I had known about breast cancer before I was diagnosed.

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