Liz's Breast Cancer Story

At 27 years old I felt a lump in my left breast which felt like a golf ball that seemed to have appeared overnight.

I went to my primary doctor who then sent me for an ultrasound/ biopsy. They spent a while doing the ultrasound, so right then I knew this was maybe worse then I thought. It took about a month from my initial findings to get all the testing done.

On April 5, 2018, my boyfriend Evan and I walked into the doctor's office to hear “you have breast cancer” I remember it not fully hitting me at first. I was told I have ductal carcinoma ER PR positive her2- After my apt Evan and I went to a playground to be kids for a little and not think about anything, then we went to castle island in Boston and just kind of stared off into the water for a while and that’s when it really hit me, I couldn’t stop crying I just wanted this all to be a bad dream. I was told I had to do chemosurgery and radiation.

I did 16 rounds of chemo and within 2 weeks from starting I lost my hair, getting sick, gaining weight from all the meds and steroids, which then put me into severe depression. I hated my wigs because it was so hot this summer and had such bad hot flashes I would sweat so much. I had two wigs that I maybe wore 10 times and other then that always wore a head wrap, at that point, I didn’t care how I looked to the world I just wanted to be comfortable and get better.

I’ve always been a jokester and outgoing so I tried to keep up that appearance to make everyone think I was “ok” and I wasn’t and I’m still not. Once I finished chemo I got a partial mastectomy with reduction and lift on both sides. I went from a D cup to an A.

Two days after surgery I ended up with the stomach bug which turned into an infection on my left breast, it was some of the worst pain I’ve ever been in. While at the hospital crying from the pain my surgeon came to the room and said “ the chemo did not kill all of the cancer but my surgery certainly did” I then started crying even harder from happy tears! I never knew the stage of the cancer until the surgery which ended up being stage 1 and what we all thought was one tumor was 2 on top of each other.

A couple of months after surgery I started radiation which I had to do every day for six weeks. I finished radiation this past January and was not as bad as I anticipated. I got a little tired from it and got some irritation on my skin.

Throughout the day I get what feels like zaps in my chest on the left side but doctors say it’s normal. I get monthly shots in my stomach which put me into menopause to keep my ovaries shut down since I have no kids but want to try in the next couple years.

Last week my doctors told me they wanted me to do 8 rounds of an oral chemo med that I wouldn’t have bad side effects from but I ended up being allergic to it so now I have to see an allergist. I will be on maintenance meds for the next five years.

This past month I was finally able to colour my hair and cut a little cut and it felt amazing! I feel like with my hair growing back I can slowly see my confidence and energy coming back as well. It’s crazy because I feel like this was the longest year of my life but then think it’s even crazier that from start to finish I got everything done and over with within a year.

I consider myself lucky after hearing other people’s stories with cancer who’ve had it way worse. I refuse to live a life of fear from the possibility of getting sick again. I am more determined now than ever to live my best life and love harder and dream bigger now knowing how truly precious life is. My family and friends support and love was out of this world.

I’m so thankful my boyfriend was able to be by my side through all this reminding me daily how much he loved me and how beautiful I was even when I didn’t believe him or feel it. I am so happy to be able to put 2018 in the rearview and move on in my long happy life!

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