Megan, diagnosed at 34
I remember seeing my employer's Breast Cancer Awareness Month email in 2012. I received it as my husband was driving me back from my biopsy. I laughed out loud and cried as I couldn't believe that I could be a similar story. But here I am. I first found the lump in my right breast when I was on work travel in July 2012. I got home and immediately scheduled my annual check-up with my ob/gyn. I was pretty sure it was nothing, and I did not want to overreact. My check-up in September 2012 seemed to back up my instincts. My doctor thought the lump almost certainly was benign, but she gave me an ultrasound slip to use to follow up. I thought I should probably get it looked at as I had just gone to a funeral for a 42-year-old acquaintance who had died of a breast cancer recurrence. Better to be safe than sorry. I am so grateful for my doctor giving me the possibility to have that test.
One week later I had two mammograms and two ultrasounds. The technicians could feel something in my chest and could see shadows, and decided that I needed a biopsy to rule out breast cancer. I was told not to be overly concerned; it was probably benign. I put the biopsy off for two weeks so that I could go on another trip for work. When I finally did get back to the radiology clinic, the doctor who did my biopsy tried to keep me calm by talking about often having to do "needless medical tests" on healthy young women like myself, and how frustrating it was to scare people like that. He was positive my lump was benign -- that is, until he called me on a Monday morning to tell me it was breast cancer. We were both shocked, as every indicator seemed to point the other way.
So began my journey through three surgeries and to multiple oncologists, through four rounds of chemo and losing my hair, through sickness, and ultimately to health. While I was diagnosed with a tricky breast cancer, invasive lobular carcinoma, which frequently goes undetected on mammogram, I caught it early, before it spread to my lymph nodes or any organs. I regret putting off that first appointment and that biopsy. What if those couple of weeks would have allowed my illness to advance or lowered my chances for successful treatment? My advice to you, take action today and get screened -- don’t put it off. There is nothing more important than taking care of your health. You can make it successfully through cancer treatments and live on to be as healthy and happy as I am now.