Losing my mother to ovarian cancer when she was only 56 and having two sisters that have battled breast cancer I have always knew in the back of my mind there was a chance that some day I might face the same fate, but that is where the thought stayed, the back of my mind. Knowing my family history I started having mammograms at 40 and with two mammograms under my belt and going for my third I thought I had this yearly thing down with good results. After completing mammogram number three I was surprised when I was told that I had some “areas” that they wanted to take a closer look at in my left breast and a biopsy would need to be done. I tried not to freak out and went for the biopsy and then waited. It seemed like the longest 48 hours in my whole life. I will never forget that call from my GYN, she is the kind of doctor that puts it just like it is, no beating around the bush. The call started with me saying. “Hello how is your day going?” and her replying, “A whole lot better than mine was going to be.” I tried to remain calm as the clinical diagnosis was being thrown at me and the instructions of what I was suppose to do and who I needed to call next. When I hung up the phone I was just numb. 43 years old and breast cancer, even though it wasn’t a complete shock it was still not what I was expecting. My sisters had all been diagnosed in their mid 50’s so for me I was thinking I’m not old enough for this to be happening yet. The first biopsy found one tumor and a second MRI biopsy found yet another. My cancer treatment has been a whirlwind from there. Two weeks after “the call” I had my surgery . I opted for a left breast lumpectomy with a reduction to the right breast. Which comically enough was performed one day after my 44th birthday. Happy birthday to me!! To my surprise when they were sculpting the left breast to match the right a smaller mass was found in the tissue that hadn’t even shown up on any of the mammograms or biopsies….lucky me. 🙂 Surgery was a success but I had many complications after that with the whole healing process. I pushed my way through and was finally healed enough six weeks later to start my chemotherapy. I knew I was going to lose my hair, which extended to the middle of my back, and tried to mentally prepare myself with several haircuts at different lengths until I ended up with a pixie right before starting chemo, which after my third treatment ended up falling out. I completed six months of chemo that caused me to have every side effect in the book. As having cancer wasn’t enough fun I caught a case of the shingles and ended up in the hospital for six days with a staph infection! My oncologist calls me his problem child. I finished my six months of the lovely chemo cocktail and have dropped down to just the last six months of Herceptin. I had a PET scan shortly after completing the first six months of chemotherapy and was told that it came back HOT. I would need to have a bone marrow biopsy to try and determine if the cancer had progressed into the bones. FREAK out time again. I went and had the biopsy, talking to God the entire time and asking for his grace. The week of waiting for those results were even worse. I will never forget going in and waiting in the tiny little exam room, hands sweating, and prayers flowing. My oncologist walked in with the biggest smile on his face. He kept saying thank God, thank God!! The results came back clear of any infection or cancer and he didn’t know why my body reacted so to the PET scan. He guessed I was just living up to my problem child label. I was bouncing back from my first six months of chemo and was told it was now time to start radiation. I now completed 36 rounds of radiation and have marked that off my list. I still have chemo until October, but can finally see the light at the end of this tunnel. I am determined to beat this and God willing not repeat again. This whole experience has grown my relationship with God and my siblings. They have been there though thick and thin. I am fighting like a girl and I will win !!!! Michelle Georgia Submitted 07/12/2014
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.