Throughout October I'm showcasing breast cancer survivor stories from CafeMoms for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I hope that these stories not only raise awareness but also provide hope and comfort to women who have been diagnosed or are being treated for the disease.
Today, Brandonlauren, mom of two, shares with us her experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31.
My name is Sara. My story starts in July of 2007. I was in the middle of my menstrual cycle and noticed that my left breast was more sore than normal. One evening when I was in the living room all by myself, I decided to feel it. I stuck my arm up in the air and put my hand on my breast and felt a small lump. I couldn't believe it. I guess I was hoping I wouldn't feel anything. I kinda freaked out and went and made my husband feel it, and all he said was, "Well, you got to go let a doctor feel it."
That next week I went and had my doctor look and feel it. And when she did, I could tell by her face she was concerned. She sent me for an ultrasound. The ultrasound technician didn't like what she saw either. She kept asking me all sorts of questions like, "How old were you when you first got your period?" and "Does breast cancer run in your family?"
After the ultrasound, I had to go see another doctor. He kept feeling and feeling it and finally said, "Well, we definitely need to do a biopsy, but I'm pretty sure it's nothing. You are too young, and you have no family history of breast cancer." I was pretty excited he said that.
The next week I went in for the biopsy. Even when the doctor came out afterward, he still reassured me and my husband—he didn't think it was anything. That was on a Thursday. I was supposed to go back the next Thursday to get the stitches out. But his nurse called that Monday and asked if we could come back in. I knew it wasn't good news.
When we were sitting in the exam room, my husband just kept looking at me. I finally said, "It'll be OK whatever he says." When the doctor walked in, he was carrying a breast cancer book, so I knew before he even opened his mouth. He said I had invasive ductal carcinoma: That's when the cancer starts in your ducts and sometimes comes out into the breast. And that's what mine had done. He said he could do a double mastectomy later that week, but he wanted to give me a day or two to think about it.
I was just in so much shock. I was only 31 years old with a 4- and an 8-year-old at home. How could this be? My husband and I cried and cried when we got into the car. When you are hit with something like this, the first thing you think about is: Am I going to die?
We never went back to that doctor. We decided to drive an hour from where we live and go to a breast center, and I'm so glad I did. This doctor and surgeon know so much more about breast cancer. I ended up having four surgeries in four months, including a double mastectomy.
I decided against reconstruction, which I wish I would've done now. But it's OK. I'm fine without breasts. I have prosthesis that I wear ever once in a while.
Right now I'm still doing chemo and radiation. After my initial treatment, I had some rash-looking spots come up on my chest, and after a biopsy, it came back as cancer cells in my skin. So that's what I've been fighting since May 2008.
I still consider myself a survivor because why shouldn't I? I may not be in, but I'm a survivor because I haven't given up. I have too much to live for. I will continue to fight because God is my healer, and He is the one I look to; not the doctors, but Him.
Thank you so much to Sara for sharing her story.
Do you have a story to tell? How has breast cancer touched your life?