In April 2007, at the age of 31, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, went through treatment, and had the BRCA test done. I didn’t have the gene so I thought I was in the clear.
In May 2013 I received the dreaded call that I had a rare form of breast cancer. I was in complete shock because my mammogram a few weeks prior was normal. Radiation was not an option since I had undergone it in 2007. I was scheduled for a double mastectomy with reconstruction in June 2013. I thought, “I got this, it will be over and done in no time.” When I woke up on June 13th I was in the worst pain of my life and I couldn’t get it under control due to my sensitivity to pain medicine.
It turned out that the cancer was in both breasts. I came home on Father’s Day unable to use my upper body, the pain was terrible. After a few days I wanted to shower, it was then I realized how much I had taken for granted. I couldn’t start my water, couldn’t undress myself, and I had to use a shower chair at the age of 37. My daughter helped me get into the shower and that’s when the emotions hit me. I didn’t have any breasts, I couldn’t wash my own hair or body, couldn’t shave, all I could do was cry. I stood under the water and cried. I had drains coming out both sides of my ribs. I just kept telling myself I was getting new bigger boobs.
I went for my first fill to start the expansion and oh my goodness the pain was awful, it knocked me back down for two more weeks. On June 26th I was having difficulty breathing and I had a sharp pain in my shoulder and back. I laid in my chair for several more hours and the pain continued to worsen. I woke my daughter up and went to the ER. After several hours the doctor managed to get an IV in my neck, ran a CAT scan, and found that a blood clot broke loose and traveled through my heart and broke into pieces landing in my lungs.
After hours of sitting in the hospital it became more painful to breath. I was sent to the ICU and began blood thinner injections. The nurse said death was a possible outcome. There were large clots lodged in my lungs and the bottom portion of my right lung was damaged. All I could think about was not getting a chance to tell my family how much I loved them or not seeing my friends one last time. I couldn’t talk because it hurt too bad to breath. I remember laying in bed just praying to let me wake up and live another day. I knew at this point I was not in control, God was. I knew I needed him to give me the strength to fight because I was tired and panicking. At some point during the night my head began hurting terribly bad. I couldn’t open my eyes and I was throwing up uncontrollably. All I could do was keep my faith and pray God would see me through this.
I woke up! My doctor was amazed I was still here, he didn’t expect me to pull through. As days passed and several tests run, I had tested positive ANA for lupus. I continued on with the expansion process wanting to quit because the pain was so intense, but faith kept me going. My family and friends gave me the strength. I had my second surgery September 25th. Unfortunately, I didn’t get bigger boobs but I ended up with some! The prior radiation treatment had damaged tissue in the right breast so the skin wouldn’t stretch. I am scheduled for my last surgery in December and I will have beat this disease. I still have to fight lupus, but I have no doubt I can and will overcome it!!!!
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.