On April 11, 2016 I celebrated my 35th birthday. On that day I was a wife of eight years to Trevor and a mother to 5 year old Quinn and 2 year old Colin. I was a daughter, a sister, a friend, a co-worker, and the life of the party. While I’m still all of those things, I’m now also someone living with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer, which there is currently no cure for.
I have no history of breast cancer in my family. I have always maintained a healthy weight, despite my frequent trips to McDonalds, and went to the doctors on a regular basis. In fact, in December 2015 I was given a clean bill of health! I had a pestering lump in my armpit that sometimes would be present and sometimes would disappear leading me to believe that it was nothing. Shortly after I turned 35, I paid more attention to this lump because it was getting larger and more painful.
After a visit to my PCP, I was set up with a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. The radiologist came in and said that the results were “very” concerning and that she was referring me to a breast health specialist. It was during this appointment that I realized that this was a bigger deal than we could have ever imagined. Up to this point I was still trying to believe that this was just going to be a non-cancerous lump or an infection that caused my lymph node to swell and that I would leave this appointment with some antibiotics and move on with life. How wrong was I?! I couldn’t believe it when the doctor said that she believed I had breast cancer and that she wanted to perform a biopsy the next day to confirm her suspicions. The biopsy was done on a Friday and I had to wait until Tuesday for “the call”. I received the call while driving home from work and had to pull over on the highway because I was bawling. After that everything was a whirlwind.
My initial diagnosis was Stage 2 and I was prepared to have a double mastectomy, go through chemo and lose my hair and then move on with life because we are made to believe that this is the process. The next day I had a CT scan and it was discovered that the Cancer had moved to my bones- mainly my spine, sternum and hips. In a matter of seconds I went from Stage 2 to Stage 4 INCURABLE cancer. With this diagnosis, and with the help of a good friend we transferred my care immediately to Dana Farber.
This blog is somewhat out of character for me since i tend to keep a low profile on social media but I think it’s the best way to keep family and friends informed of how I’m doing, to make people aware that there are so many people like me living with this diagnosis and to increase hope that a cure is found before all of the available options have been exhausted. In this short time that I have been dealing with this diagnosis, I’ve found that Metastatic Breast Cancer is sort of something that no one talks about, or understands. It’s not something that the pink ribbons represent b/c it’s never something that we will fight to conquer. This is something that people like me will fight every single day until the fight is over.
I hope that you’ll join me on this journey which i hope is not only filled with information on this awful disease but with hope, laughter and appreciation of every moment that you are given.