Nicole Diagnosed at 35
In early January of 2015, I began to notice some changes in the appearance of my left breast. My nipple began to invert and within the span of a week, it was almost completely inverted.
I did what most people do and turned to google, with search after search coming back as “Cancer” being one of the main culprits. I have no family history of Breast Cancer and thought that it was an old lady’s disease, but just to be safe, I called my gynecologist.
Within 2 days, I was in his office and he immediately located some “swelling” and ordered a mammogram and ultrasound for that afternoon. Before leaving the imaging office, I was told that I would need a biopsy for the suspicious “masses” which was scheduled for a few days later. Everything happened so quickly and within 2 weeks of first noticing the change, at the fresh young age of 35, I was diagnosed with Stage 3a, triple positive, Invasive ductal carcinoma.
My treatment plan consisted of 6 rounds of TCHP (from February through June), a double mastectomy and removal of 12 lymph nodes (cancer had spread to 3 of them) in July, 25 rounds of radiation from August to September followed by an oophorectomy and Herceptin infusions which continued every 3 weeks until February of 2016.
My husband and children were my absolute rock during all of it. At the time, our children were 4, 11, and 14. They are very involved with their school and sports, keeping us in a perpetual state of motion. When one parent is down for the count for a majority of 9 months, there is a lot of pressure put on the other to keep things running smoothly. My husband stepped up to the plate and took it all in stride, continuing to chauffeur kids to their practices and appointments, making dinners, picking up my half of the household chores, and always there to support me when I just wanted to give up (and there were definitely days when I wanted to give up).
We chose to be completely open with our kids about what I was going through, giving them enough information so they could understand but not enough to scare them. Keeping life as normal as possible for them kept them from focusing on what was going on at home and maintain some semblance of “normal”.
YSC has helped me to connect with other YA survivors in my area (and across the country) and give me people to share my victories with (and sometimes vent to) I am so thankful for the friendships that I’ve gained through YSC!