I am a 3rd generation breast cancer survivor. My maternal grandmother, maternal aunt, and my mother all survived breast cancer before me.
My yearly mammogram found something in my left breast in 2016. I couldn’t feel it, neither could my doctor. A biopsy was performed and sure enough, it was malignant.
Surgery was quickly scheduled. I opted for a double mastectomy. Then, I was sent home to heal with 4 drain tubes attached. The drain tubes were awful and so painful.
The lab results came back. Thank goodness I opted to have both breasts removed because cancer was found in both.
Weeks later, I started chemotherapy. There’s nothing more frightening than watching your oncology nurse garb up with gloves, a gown, and goggles before hooking up the poison (chemotherapy) to slowly drip into your veins. I had 13 months of chemotherapy. During that time, I had to have fluids several times because of dehydration from vomiting and/or horrible diarrhea. The chemo also caused horrible muscle pain, swelling, and fatigue.
Once chemo was complete, the reconstructive process started. Spacers were surgically inserted into my breasts to slowly stretch the skin and remaining tissue to make room for my implants. Then, the weekly visits for saline injections began – slowly expanding the area to continue to make room for implants. A few weeks later, I was making an emergency call on a Sunday. My right spacer had burst. The surgeon met us at his office right away-on a Sunday. The surgery to insert my implants was scheduled 2 weeks away. However, since a spacer had burst, my surgery was bumped up to Tuesday of that week. So, back into surgery I went to complete the last step of my reconstructive procedure-implant insertion. A couple months later, I was back to get my Christmas present- areola (nipple) tattoos.
It’s been 5 years now. So far, I’m still cancer free. I tell people I’ve survived the 3C’s. I survived blood clots in 2001. My cancer was cured in 2017. Then, I survived Covid-19 in 2020.
My oncology and surgery teams are my heroes, but my Faith, Family, and Friends pulled me through.
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.