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Feb 14, 2016 12:25AM
I've been a member here off and on, I've used different user names. I've even done graduate research, developing a speech system as a way to help answer questions regarding breast cancer based on my experiences here. I would like to share my story.
I'll be an 18 year survivor this year. I was diagnosed at 23 and spent my 24th birthday getting chemo. When I cried there because they had to poke me 5 times to get a vein, the lovely woman next to me told myself that I'll never forget and I applied to the rest of my life. She told me that having a pity-party is just like having a regular party, and once it's done, you've got to pick yourself up, clean up and move on. And that's what I've done with my life. That year of my life of my initial diagnosis was hard - I had surgery, chemo for 7 months and radiation for 2 months. But after all that was done, I moved on and accomplished so many things. I built a great career at one of the largest companies in the world, I partied with the best, and then I went an got 2 Masters degree doing breast cancer research at the largest hospital in the country. However, during all those years, I also was diagnosed with skin cancer and lost part of my nose, and that was actually more traumatic than having breast cancer because I felt like my nose was right there, front and center. But that got reconstructed and you can't even tell I ever had surgery on my nose. They thought I had breast cancer in the other breast and so had a lumpectomy on the other breast but then it turned out to be benign. I was tested positive for the BRCA 2 gene. But I have kept going on and on, living life to the fullest.
I was diagnosed this past year with DCIS and when I had a lumpectomy in November, they found that it was too close to the margins to let me continue to keep my breasts. My most recent oncologist even acted fed up with me when I wanted to wait a couple more months for the BMX and told me that I didn't need to come back to see her. LOL And so as I wait another week for my BMX (no recon), I've become contemplative of my previous experiences with breast cancer. I'm going to go walk 10 miles tomorrow because I have a half-marathon scheduled in 12 weeks.
8/1/1998, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIA, ER-/PR-, HER2-
8/14/1998 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary
9/14/2000 Lumpectomy: Right
9/1/2015, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, ER+
11/19/2015 Lumpectomy: Left
2/22/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right