Hi, I am Kimmie, and I am currently 33. I was 31 on April 17, 2014, the day that my world came crashing down. I was like most young people and didn’t pay much attention in school when they talked about self breast exams. I thought I was invincible and nothing bad could happen to me. I thought I would never face death at such a young age.
It was the middle of March. I can’t remember the exact date, but I was lying in bed. It was almost 2 am, and I couldn’t sleep, but I almost never sleep. For some reason, the thought came to me that I had not done a breast exam in forever. Now, why I thought this, I do not know. I never really even knew how to do one. Just occasionally in the shower, I would feel around, ya know? So here I am, in the middle of the night, feeling around. My left breast was okay. When I got to my right, I thought I felt something weird, but wasn’t sure. I jumped up from bed and ran to the door. I was gonna get my mom. But I stopped with my hand on the door, and was like, wait it’s the middle of the night. I’m just crazy. So I laid back down and tried to calm myself.
Over the next few days, I did not tell anyone. I would just constantly feel for the lump, and sometimes it was there, sometimes not. By this point, I thought I was crazy. It wasn’t until I was walking into work, and I felt the hardness of the lump, and I couldn’t move it or squish it down. The panic set in, and the tears came. My coworker Abby asked what was wrong, and I told her. She asked if she could feel it. Mind that she is an older women, and I felt like I needed someone to verify that it was there, so I would know I was not crazy. She confirmed something was there, and again, tears.
I called my OBGYN to see if I could get in. I didn’t know who else to call, and she was out of town. So I called my primary, and she said she could see me, but not till Tuesday. It was Friday when I called. I went all weekend, fearful and on edge, but I didn’t tell my mom. I did not want to worry her. It was probably nothing, right? Just a cyst. So when I saw my doctor that Tuesday, she said I needed a mammogram and to see the surgeon!! Why a surgeon???? I was completely freaked out. But I made the appointments, I got them done, and I saw my surgeon. After he said I needed a biopsy, I finally told my mom. I didn’t want to bother her with my issues, ya know. I pretty much isolated myself in the beginning and did all the appointments alone.
Just like on April 17th, when I walked into the surgeon’s office, expecting him to say it was a cyst. He walked in and said, “I am so sorry. I did not expect this. The radiologist did not expect this. But it is cancer.” Holy Hell, are you freaking kidding me?!??!? I am 31. I have a six-year-old depending on me. I can’t have cancer. But I did, and I had to figure out what to do. I was stage one, grade one, inductal in situ cancer. Options were given–lumpectomy or mastectomy, radiation, see an oncologist, so many things thrown at me. I was lost, confused and scared to death. I saw the oncologist, and she delivered another blow to me. I cannot have any more kids. I never wanted my daughter to be an only child. I’d had one miscarriage but wanted another baby. This stupid disease was taking everything from me. I decided to just remove my breast. I wanted them both gone, but my insurance wouldn’t cover it.
On May 12, 2014, I had my surgery. They took it off. They said I had clean margins. My cancer had not spread. I would be okay. Okay?!?!? I’m half a woman. I can’t have another baby. How the hell am I okay? But at least I was alive. I thought I would be done after that surgery and be on the mend. But no, things don’t work that way for me. I got an infection that almost killed me. I had to sit in a lawyer’s office and decide who would get my child if I died, and sitting there, making a will, I wished I was dead because I couldn’t think of leaving my child alone, to not be with her.
So I was getting better, I guess. I went back to work. I put on a happy face for everyone. Then in September, right before my daughter’s birthday, I started getting horrible pains in my side. What now, I thought? Possible ovarian cancer was what it was. On November 14, I had a partial hysterectomy. I lost another part of my womanhood. I cried for my children I would never have. I cried for the life I dreamed and lost. I just cried.
But I am a survivor! I have my bad days. I have my days where I just do not want to go on. But I know I can. I did it. I beat the odds. At 31, you do not think about death. You dream about life. But I had to face it, and I kicked its ass. I still deal with depression, with bad days, but I will be okay. I am glad for places where I can go, like here, where I have support. And I try to educate other young girls about the importance of self checks. If I can help anyone, then I know my story is helping others. Cancer took most of my womanhood, but it won’t take my life or my spirit.
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.