Patricia Diagnosed at 26

"At my initial doctor visit they suggested because I had just turned 26, the lump I discovered while showering may have simply been a cyst."

Before my diagnosis, I was a top insurance sales professional. This disease, however, would disrupt what seemed to be the perfect career and lifestyle. Iyanla Vanzant said “before you enter a new experience, everything that needs healing rushes to the surface. You have to pause.”

At my initial doctor visit they suggested because I had just turned 26, the lump I discovered while showering may have simply been a cyst. While cysts are very common, especially for younger women with dense breasts, it was recommended I get a needle biopsy. That was an invasive and painful experience. December 5th, my doctor gently shared with me that I would be a breast cancer survivor. December 16th, I met with my surgical oncologist, and February 12th I had a lumpectomy. Before surgery I did have my eggs harvested in case of infertility. My journey consisted of 16 rounds of chemotherapy, four adriamycin cytaxon, and 12 rounds of taxol. Chemotherapy affected me severely, both physically and emotionally. At this time, there were no distractions of work. Only the tasks to heal my spirit that was dying to live. To save myself, I sought counseling. Therapy forced me to feel and talk about it all. Good things, bad things, painful things, relationships, religion, fears, future plans - everything! I began indulging in hobbies I hadn't any time for before. I also spent a lot of time in nature when my body permitted. All these things helped me from illness into wellness. After chemo, I had 37 radiation treatments and was prescribed tamoxifen for five years. Before engulfing in corporate, I used to model and was a freelance makeup artist. Leading to my resignation, I managed my insurance career and makeup opportunities. My artistry made it that I seldom knew I was battling for my life! I knew after conquering cancer I wanted to share my beauty expertise and more with the world! Suddenly I was coming into my own. This transition was not that easy, however, and I lost everything. But having conquered cancer I was fearless!

Today my dreams are a reality. I am now a reputable beauty expert having been featured in an instructional beauty video for cancer patients. I also coach free beauty classes for the cancer community, and more recently I am a published co-author! For me, cancer was an introspective journey that forced me to retreat and release for a readiness to enjoy the best days of my life, the rest of my life. My words to those surviving is: “THIS IS TEMPORARY”. I encourage you to have a plan for when you conquer cancer. You have come so far in life, and the best is yet to come.

Are you a survivor, spouse, friend, or caretaker with a story to tell? We'd love to hear from you.

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