At the age of 42 I began college, after 21 years of raising my sons. Two days after Christmas in 2010, following my first semester in college, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. I had found the lump a few years earlier, but the mammograms always came back negative, due to the density of my breast tissue. I couldn’t understand how a tumor the size of mine could be missed in someone with small A-cup breasts. In the year prior to beginning college I had noticed that my nipple was beginning to pull inward from the bottom. After going from place to place and doctor to doctor, I finally got a referral to my oncologist. That is when an ultrasound (an option I had never been offered before) and a needle biopsy uncovered the truth.
I started chemo in the first month, had a bi-lateral mastectomy six months after my diagnosis, another round of chemo, then reconstructive surgeries during the next year. Through all of this, I remained in college full-time. I refused to allow this disease to beat me. I graduated with my associates degree in the summer of 2012 with a 4.0 GPA. I have since began work on my bachelor’s degree and I am still maintaining the 4.0 GPA. I share my story with the younger students and they inform me that I am an inspiration to them. Many of the younger students who were in classes with me as I was taking the ACT chemo still keep in touch with me to let me know that they have not given up either. What a wonderful feeling to know that I can be such an inspiration to so many young people.
I took my last dose of chemo on September 27, 2011 on my 44th birthday. This past September, I celebrated my 46/second birthday. I consider my OLD birthday and NEW birthday as well!
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.