My journey with breast cancer started over a year ago in October 2017.
I was 31 and married for just over a week and thinking about all of the hopes and dreams my husband and I had for the future.
I will never forget driving home from work when I had an itch on my right breast. I scratched and felt something that instantly did not feel right. I have always had dense breasts and had areas checked out by my doctor over the years.
I went to the gym, felt the area in my breast again and it was clearly a lump. I made an appointment with my doctor for the next morning. My doctor thought that the lump definitely needed to be checked out but thought it was probably just a cyst. I had to wait two weeks for a mammogram and ultrasound.
During those two weeks, my husband and I kept telling ourselves it was just a cyst. I was too young to have breast cancer and did not have any other symptoms.
An appointment for a biopsy of my lump and lymph nodes was made the day I had my mammogram and ultrasound. I knew then it was not a cyst. My husband and I soon learned I had Stage II Estrogen + Progesterone + Her2- breast cancer.
The fear, anger and grief washed over us in big heavy waves. We cancelled our honeymoon and tried to wrap our heads around what our lives would look like.
We had gotten married after a short engagement to start our family in a year. All of that was out of the window. We were very fortunate to go through fertility treatments to preserve my eggs. Surgeries and my egg retrieval rushed by.
I finished a total of 16 chemo treatments in May and 30 radiation treatments in August. It still seems unreal that all of this happened. We got through it some days minute by minute and with a lot of help from family and friends. I have met so many wonderful women along the way, fellow fighters and survivors, we call each other "breasties".
The breast cancer community helped me to find a sense of belonging and acceptance. As time passes it is easier to see the things I have gained from my cancer journey. The pain and grief of not having children when we planned led me to get back into the field of social work. I now work with children and seniors in a very rewarding job.
I recently finished a program for cancer survivors through Livestrong and the YMCA. The gym has provided a great outlet for stress and getting my strength back.
Best of all too, my husband and I will be taking our honeymoon in February.
Instagram - @Littlerodstewart