October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and as a breast cancer survivor myself, I know how important it is to spread awareness this month and always so I want to share my journey with you. In April of 2018, a co-worker and friend of mine announced she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. I remember feeling incredibly sorry for her & could not imagine what she had been going through. I was telling a friend about it that day & they asked if I ever do self-exams. I did not at that time. They suggested I should. I went home that evening and did my very first self-exam & found my lump.
I luckily already had a doctors appointment schedule in the next week so I asked her to check it out. She felt it, but tried to reassure me that it was possibly a cyst, but ordered imaging right away. It was confirmed to be a mass & I had a biopsy done. It came back positive for triple negative breast cancer.
I had symptoms prior to my diagnosis like getting extremely tired very quickly and I had lost quite a bit of weight, but I was also trying to get healthier at that time. So, I had just chalked it up to my busy schedule at work & that I was trying to lose weight & so I just kept going. It was indeed cancer causing those symptoms. My type of cancer, triple negative, is not like the most prevalent breast cancer is. It is only about 10-15% of cases & is very aggressive & more likely to reoccur. Also, it does not respond to a pill like some women are able to take. My only options were chemo & radiation. I did 8 rounds of aggressive chemo and 6 weeks of daily radiation. I am very grateful to be here today celebrating 4 years cancer free! I only have to make one more year without a recurrence and they say it would be very rare for my type of cancer to return.
Had my friend not been public with her situation I would have never checked & things could be very, very different for me today. It certainly would’ve have spread very aggressively in a short period of time. So, I understand the importance of sharing my story publicly and try to encourage people to do their self exams monthly. Early detection is key. It saved my life. I have put together a little video of my journey through breast cancer to spread awareness. I hope this encourages you to do monthly self-exams! Be well. Many blessings.