|In January of 2017, I went in for a routine mammogram, and was called back for additional images. I wasn’t concerned. I didn’t have any symptoms and lived a very healthy lifestyle.
The doctor called me back for a needle biopsy. I was convinced it was going to be nothing. Three days later my doctor called and said I had breast cancer. I was shocked. From that moment on, I really didn’t hear anything she said.
I had two options: a lumpectomy with radiation or a mastectomy. I talked with my husband, and we made the decision to have a double mastectomy. I was afraid if I only had one side done, I’d be called back constantly for tests, and I didn’t want to live the rest of my life like that.
It was a hard decision to make. I was sad and extremely emotional. Then I had the surgery in May of 2017. Two weeks later, the pathology report came back, and my oncologist said that everything looked good but they found a second, bigger tumor far back on my chest wall. One week later, she called to tell me that it was a HER2 positive tumor, and that changed everything.
I was supposed to have reconstructive surgery and get on with my life, and everything came crashing down. My oncologist said now I was going to have to do 12 weeks of chemo and a year of Herceptin, which is a targeted treatment for HER2 positive cancers.
I was afraid of chemo, but surprised that for a few weeks I was living my life pretty normally. Sadly, by the midway point of treatment, I was just so tired, and my hair was falling out in huge clumps. It was so unreal! And the treatment seemed like it was never going to end!!
I definitely put my life on hold for over 18 months and didn’t do much besides treatment. That was difficult emotionally and I was very depressed. Today, just 8 months after ending all treatments, I’m feeling more like the “old me.” My hair is growing back, and I’m slowly trying to get my strength back. I’m a personal trainer so it’s hard because I felt I was so strong before and so weak now.
Try and stay active if you can. On my worst days I would walk on the treadmill for an hour and I know it helped me mentally and physically recover faster! Remember, this WILL end one day, even when it seems impossible! Reach out to other survivors, it will help when you are feeling so alone! If I can help anyone going through this feel a little hope than it’s all worth it!!!!