On November 4, 2016, I was diagnosed with stage 2B ER/PR positive breast cancer. The weeks following my diagnosis I was a wreck. It was doctors appointment after doctors appointments, freeze my eggs or take a risk of not having children? MRI of this PET scan of that. I. Was. A. Mess.
You see, just the week before I was in Disneyland with my family & best friend celebrating my stepsons 7th birthday. I was successful at my job, I was in a healthy loving relationship, I was in good shape, cancer was NOT on my radar.
But, here we are.
Due to the aggressiveness of my tumor we wanted to get started with chemo right away. We were still waiting on results from my second MRI/ biopsy but chose to get started anyway. I started chemo December 27, 2016, Merry Christmas! Chemo really sent me for a loop. I was usually sick for 7 days straight. It was that can’t leave the bathroom type of sickness because I didn’t know which end it was coming out of. Ugh.
After my MRI results came in, my doctor let me know I had 2 breast cancer tumors instead of one. That tumor tested triple positive. We had to start chemo all over again, since my chemo regimen wasn’t specifically for my tumor type. I now needed 6 rounds of TCHP, a year of herceptin and now I needed to get a port.
May 8, 2017 I finished cocktail chemo!! I was so ecstatic that my hair was going to finally start growing back! Although, I was still getting herceptin every 3 weeks, I could manage.
Throughout chemo, I kept contemplating what surgery I wanted to do. Between lumpectomy and mastectomy I really had no idea what to do. I was looking for answers from everyone, only to find that this decision is extremely personal and has NOTHING to do with anyone else.
May 31, 2017, I had a bilateral mastectomy with flat expanders placed. My surgery ended up being 8 hours instead of 5 hours, I needed 3 blood transfusions during surgery because I lost so much blood (part chemos fault), and unfortunately, the cancer had spread to one of my lymph nodes.
Since my lymph node tested positive for cancer we now needed radiation. Although, I was still flat chested from surgery. My radiologist/plastic surgeon decided it would be best to do rapid expansion. We filled up my implants with 300 ccs of fluid so we could get started with radiation.
28 rounds of radiation later, I was done!!! Burnt like no other, but I was done! I could heal and I just prayed there wasn’t a lot of damage done, so I could continue reconstruction.
7 months after radiation my skin was finally healed enough to attempt reconstruction. My plastic surgeon is a perfectionist and her work really shows. I was placed with 445 cc Natrelle Inspira Silicone implant with 30ccs of fat from my legs. They look phenomenal!!!
I can’t say I am glad I had cancer. Because I’m not. I’m bitter and I live with aches & pains everyday. I can say, I am glad cancer gave me a second shot at life.
Instagram - @Roni.arata