I went for my yearly check up around February 2012. My doctor was doing a breast exam when she said, “I feel something here, do you feel it?” She grabbed my hand and I touched the knot under my skin. I was like, “What is it?” She said, “I don’t know but I want you to have an ultrasound on it.”
A week later I went in for the ultrasound. I was a little nervous but still thought, “Oh, it’s nothing.” The nurse did the ultrasound, left the room for a bit, came back, and said it was just a swollen lymph node and to come back in three months. I said okay and went about my life.
A few weeks later my doctor called me and said she would really like to send me to a specialist and let them look at it. Now that I knew it was there it bothered me, it was on my right breast and it seemed to be growing. So in June I finally got into see the breast specialist, which by then it had already grown some. The doctor looked at it and said it was a benign tumor and said it will grow so we can leave it or take it out. I said get it out, I don’t want it getting any bigger.
We scheduled my surgery for the next month. At the time I was supposed to have my surgery I was put into the hospital and was there for a few days with a sever kidney infection. Once I got out and got better we scheduled my surgery for July 25. I had my surgery and the doctor said everything went great and I did great. I then went home to recover.
On July 27, my whole world got turned upside down. The doctor called and said, “Misty we need to talk. You have cancer.” I stopped breathing for a bit, I think he said, “are you with me?” I said, “Yes.” He continued on by saying I would need to come because we had a lot to to talk about. The next Monday I had three doctors appointments. They all laid out what the plan of action was and gave me my options.
I had invasive ductal carcinoma ER + & HER2 positive, which meant it was fast growing. I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy, it wasn’t a hard decision for me. I made it fast, I wanted it all gone, I wanted my chances of it coming back to be very low!
On Sept 13, I had my mastectomy. It was very painful but it’s like my mind has blocked it out. I honestly lost two weeks of my life after that surgery, I don’t remember and I’m kind of glad! At the time of the surgery I had tissue expanders put in. After healing from the surgery it was time to start treatment. I was to have four treatments of the “red devil” and 12 of Taxol and Herceptin. Then I would be on Herceptin for a year, Tamxifen for 10 years, and Zoledex for two years.
I had my first treatment of the “red devil” and it really was awful. You can literally feel it kicking your body’s butt! Fourteen days after my first treatment my hair started coming out in handfuls. We went to the salon and as everyone watched we shaved my head, it felt good to have loved ones there for support. Three weeks later I had my second treatment, right when I had started to feel normal from the first treatment. This one was rough. I couldn’t keep anything down and I felt like death. I was at the hospital every day that week to get fluid, I was miserable. I told my doctor that I was done and I didn’t want anymore. She said okay and we stopped them and went into my next set of weekly treatments. Those were a lot easier, my hair was slowly starting to come back, and I made it through nine of those treatments with only feeling bad for a few days and being very tired. But I started loosing feeling in my fingers and toes so we stopped them while doing those treatments.
I was having my expanders filled weekly to stretch my skin for my reconstruction . I had my reconstruction surgery in April 2013. I am now doing Herceptin every three weeks and will finish up with that in November! It has been a long hard road but I have stayed positive the whole time. I couldn’t have done it without all the support from my family and friends!!! I feel like it’s my responsibility to get the word out that cancer doesn’t care how old you are. I never thought at 23 years old I would have breast cancer. Along with every other 23 year old out there, your life is just taking off. But it can and it will. Everyone should start young doing self breast exams!!!! Although this has completely changed my life I don’t think I would have it any other way! It really has been a blessing. It has made me a better person, it has shown me how strong I am, and showed me that I can overcome anything. God is good and God has a plan for me. Don’t get me wrong some days I do get down and wonder why me because this is something that will effect me the rest of my life, but I tell myself God knows what he’s doing and he wouldn’t put me through this if he didn’t think I could handle it. I think I’ve done pretty dang good!!!!
~ Strength is Beauty ~
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.