My name is Yolanda. I am married to my best friend, and we have 3 beautiful children. I have been a type 1 Diabetic since age 7. At 36, I went back to school to become an ultrasound tech. While completing my externship, I was amazed at how many young patients we had who had breast cancer. I figured since I hadn’t had an exam in a few years, I would do a self check at home. Lo and behold, I found a lump in my left breast. I scanned my breast the next day and couldn’t believe what I was looking at. I snapped some ultrasound pics and put them away. I was in denial.
About a week later, I showed the images to my ultrasound supervisor, who had me call my doctor that same day. I went to my doctor’s appointment, where she told me, “Yolanda, you are being a hypochondriac. When you start medical school, everyone thinks they have what they are learning about.” I said, NO, this is not the case. She asked me what I wanted her to do! I had been seeing this doctor for over 7 years and had always received the best care. I trusted her. I told her I wanted a formal ultrasound and a mammo. I scheduled them for the same day. I got a call a few days later that I had a “suspicious” lump, but it was probably a fibroadenoma. I met with a surgeon and elected for an excisional biopsy. After surgery, I was told that it didn’t look cancerous.
A week later, I was at the surgeon’s office. It was cancer. Turned out to be stage 1 medullary carcinoma, PR+. Lymph node negative. Had a lumpectomy and 6 weeks of radiation. I caught it early! The following 2 years I had regular check ups and scans. I was almost at my 2 year clearance, finally working as an ultrasound tech, when I came home from work one night. Right under my clavicle I was sore. I thought I might be feeling a tiny bump, but thought it was probably muscle tension from work. I scanned it the next day at work. Needless to say, it was back. I knew the moment I saw it on my machine. I had a large clump of infraclavicular lymph nodes. This time it was a triple negative, grade 3 tumor.
I had a radical left mastectomy in July 2014. The tumor was unable to be completely removed. It was attached to blood vessels, nerves and muscle. I started 6 months of chemo. My last round is Jan. 19th. The tumor has been gradually shrinking. The next steps are still being decided, depending on my next ultrasound to check the size of the tumor. I thank God I went into the medical field, or I would have listened to my doctor and went on my merry way, thinking I had a simple cyst that I didn’t need to be concerned about. If there’s one thing women and men need to know, trust your instincts and get a second opinion. You know your body, and the doctors are not always right! It has been tough. I have felt every emotion, but mostly pissed! Pissed off at cancer! I have a lot more living to do and 3 children that are my life! Cancer will not win, not with this lady! There is no choosing. I have to fight. As my oncologist said, “We are going for complete cure.” He’s right. Soon. 🙂
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.