My name is Melissa Meister and I am a proud cancer survivor. I was 20 years old and just a few weeks away from my wedding when I found a lump in my left breast. Since I always considered myself a very healthy person with no family history of breast cancer, I decided to ignore it at least until after I got back from my honeymoon, assuming it was nothing to worry about.
About two weeks after my wedding I discussed what I found with my sister who was in nursing school at the time. She was very insistent that I call my doctor right away and got checked out. I called and that same day went in. My regular physician sent me to get an ultrasound and a mammogram done. The mammogram showed nothing but the ultrasound showed a very suspicious mass. Later that night I had a core needle biopsy and the results were inconclusive, which led me to get a lumpectomy. That was on a Friday and immediately Monday morning I received the call no one expects to get. I had cancer. I cannot forget the feelings I experienced at that moment. The denial, anger, and sadness hit all at once. I thought about how long I would have to live and how much pain I would suffer. After discussing with my amazing surgeon the options I had, I decided to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction immediately following. I finally had my official diagnosis after my lymph nodes came back negative. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage 2 Grade 3 ER+ PR+ HER2-.
I went through six rounds of chemo, which I handled very well. The worst of it was the weight gain, hair loss, and horrible taste in your mouth. After survivor mode started to fade I did suffer from depression, especially about my image. I went from having long blonde hair, a fit body, and a nice “rack” to having no boobs, no hair, and about 15 extra pounds. Thank God I had my husband tell me everyday that I was beautiful and that he loved me no matter what. Now two years later I am almost done with the reconstruction, my hair is back and thicker than ever, and I picked up running! I will be on tamoxifen for 10 years, but I have no side effects so it doesn’t bother me. If it weren’t for all of my angels, especially my husband, and my sister, I don’t believe I would be here today. They were my strength when I had none left. I still don’t know the whole reason why I had to go through what I did, but I do know I enjoy every day to the fullest and thank God for giving me a second chance to accomplish all that I am supposed to in this lifetime!
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.