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Julie’s Fight Like a Girl Story (Breast Cancer)

Hi! My name is Julie, and I’m currently 54-years-old. I was married for 33 years, and I was divorced in Oct. 2015. I found out a few months later he had been cheating.

A few months after that in April 2016, I was diagnosed with stage 3 IDC. I did 12 Taxols from June 2016 to Sept. 2016, followed by 4 AC–the dreaded red devil. I finished chemo Oct. 16 and had bilateral mastectomy with expanders in Nov. 2016. I did 33 rounds of radiation Jan through March 2017.

I did all of this mostly alone. I have 2 adult kids that abandoned me during all of this. My daughter got married too during all of this and never included me in anything or called or anything. I have a grandson with her too, and I haven’t seen him either.

After my mastectomy, I went for a heart test and found out I now have heart failure from the chemo. So I am taking 3 heart meds to bring my EF back up from 30 to at least 50. I am going today for an ECG to see how my heart is doing! I see my primary surgeon on July 20th to talk exchange surgery, yay! I am so sick of these hard expanders!

I keep a good attitude! This whole situation has humbled me. I do have my sad moments, and I do get lonely, but I just keep looking forward. My whole life was flipped, but I know I’m here for a reason and things will get better hopefully. I think I’m due to win the lottery!

Submitted 07/06/2017

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.

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  1. Debbie Brunelle

    How completely upsetting that your family would abandon you. Hugs and prayers for you. I developed Hogkins Lymphoma at 23, breast cancer at 45 and had a 4 artery bypass at 52. My heart problems were also a direct result of cancer treatments. Keep up the fight Julie, you’ve got this!

  2. Arleen

    I have had 4 cancers, one being tnbc in 2009 and now just breast cancer cancer on the other breast, can things be more bizarre? To top it off I just, 6 months ago got implants put in both sides only to loose this implant to breast cancer, I’m done for now.

  3. trina

    I have Endometrial Uterine cancer. I was diagnosed in January 2017. I’ve completed three rounds of chemo. I have three more. I’ve just completed 25 days of radiation. My sister-in-law, my brothers’ wife has helped me thru all of this, I don’t know what I’d do without her.

  4. Kelli

    I am so very sorry that your family has not stood beside you throughout all of this. I, too, had breast cancer. I continue to keep a good attitude and look forward to every day. Hang in there and sending hugs!

  5. Cindy

    My heart breaks for you, Julie. I, too, went through it all alone as I don’t have much family and chose not to tell my friends until I was through with treatment. I definitely understand what it’s like to not have much of a support system while battling cancer and have discovered that people are not always as kind or supportive as you think they’ll be. I can tell you this though, there definitely IS life after cancer and it is possible to find happiness in spite of it all. I’ve reconnected with some of my old hobbies (like singing and working on crafts) which I’ve always loved (which has brought some new friends into my life as well as reacquainting me with some old ones), and I’ve made a commitment to myself to get out and enjoy life and see new things and experience life to the fullest, as much as I can. This may sound weird but in some ways cancer was what I needed to stop procrastinating and get out there and start living life again. A friend once told me that whatever hand you’re dealt in life, there is also a gift. I’ve found that my gift of independence has allowed me to live life as I choose, on my own terms, without having to seek anyone’s permission or approval or acceptance. I know it’s hard when there’s people you love who have walked out on you for the time being and that hurts, I know, but YOU KICKED CANCER’S BUTT and that’s darn impressive! There’s nothing quite like having some time to yourself for soul searching and finding out what YOU want to do.. Enjoying all the things that makes YOU happy, without having to schedule your needs around the whims of others. (At least that’s how I view my own independence.) Best wishes on your journey of survivorship, Julie. Wishing you peace, love, happiness and enjoyment in your life. 🙂

  6. Sandy

    That’s so horrible. I have breast cancer also and starting radiation soon. I can’t imagine going through this without they’re support you are strong and you will blossom from your strength. Take care good luck and smile. You are here for a reason

  7. Rockym

    I have that abandon feeling to it would be like writing a book to give everyone the long story. I was me my God and husband.

  8. Omi Holley

    I’m so sorry that you were abandoned by your family. That’s horrible. I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ohio, near Cincinnati. I miss Ohio! Bless you and stay the strong , beautiful soul that you are!

  9. Candace

    I just finished my surgery for my reconstruction. As painful as it was it marked the end of a very long tunnel. I went through much of my treatment alone. Being dropped off and picked up dosen t count as support. I read and watched TV through my chemo. I found the radiation draining. I’ve learned that life around you goes on. I lowered my expectations of my family and put my head down and powered through. A few friends would pop in and out for moral support. I have learned to be reflective and to be my own best friend. Yes I was hurt and disappointed but that is life. I have gained inner strength through all of my tribulations and learned we enter the world alone and leave it that way. Learning to expect nothing from any one, even those you love is very hard. But in the end much easier that letting the disappointment break your heart. Know that you as a person would always do so much better for them. When the time comes and they need help do it. As much as it is for them it is truly good for your soul.
    Life is short, give more than you will ever receive and you will be a soul at peace. Always smile, love when your given the chance.

  10. Michelle

    Julie, I had the same EXACT diagnoses, treatment and surgeries. I to had no family or husband (divorced from a very abusive ex) that came to help either. However, I had my then 7 year old daughter, Gypsy, to take care of. Thankfully, my “village” were the wonderful Moms/Families that helped with taking care of Gypsy in times when I could not. I had multiple hospitalizations for blood transfusions, dehydration, port infections, etc. I’ve been cancer free since 3/16 and now just look forward to kicking cancers ass! God bless you and I for being the strong ?? women we are and to living a long healthy rest of our lives. ? Michelle

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