My name is Michelle and I am 38 years old. I lost my mother to cancer (mesothelioma – caused by asbestos exposure) on August 16, 1998, 2 days after my 25th birthday, when she was just 50 years old. Then, on August 26, 2011, two weeks after my 38th birthday, I was diagnosed with Stage IIb, Grade III, triple-negative invasive infiltrating ductal carcinoma. After learning I would lose my hair (it was at the middle of my back at the time), I decided that as an act of defiance against this nasty disease, I would cut my hair, donate it to Locks of Love, and shave my head as opposed to letting chemo decide when I lost it.
Two-and-a-half weeks later on September 15th, I underwent a breast-conserving lumpectomy to remove a 3.2 cm tumor. On October 14, 2011, I began an aggressive, dose-dense chemo regimen that consisted of 4 rounds of adriamycin/cytoxan and 4 rounds of taxol. Each was administered every two weeks with bone marrow boosting shots the day after each treatment. Chemo concluded on January 27, 2012 at which point I began my radiation therapy which consisted of 33 treatments with 5 boosts and this concluded on April 5th.
I am married with three teenage sons and with their support, along with that of my daddy, my brother, and countless friends and co-workers, I have started the long road to remission and proudly declare myself a breast cancer survivor! Shortly after starting chemo, I registered for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day here in Dallas in November. I will be walking in both the North Texas Affiliate and Dallas Affiliate Races for the Cure in June and October, respectively, with my sons at my side. I feel that as long as I am able to walk against breast cancer, I am beating it. There is hope for me, as well as every single breast cancer survivor out there. I will walk, fight, and defy my way to being cancer-free as, in my mind, the alternative simply isn’t an option.
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.