Breast Cancer Journey

I must say, I never thought I would talk about my breasts with my family and friends so much. They say when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Let me tell you friends, I’ve been making the sweetest lemonade. Humor, friendships and family make life so much easier when life gets real. 

I didn’t think I would share my story, it was all too personal and I didn’t want to feel vulnerable. However, God started convicting me. He had been telling me to share my story/His story for quite some time so that's what I'm doing. Through this journey, God continues to show me that He is a faithful and loving God. He has shown me miracles and put amazing people in my life. He comforts me, guides me, loves me and fills me up with so much joy!! 

In May, I showed the doctor some unusual tenderness in my breast. It was especially painful during my menstrual cycle. She confirmed that there was a lump and sent me to get an ultrasound. The doctor at the breast center said they found a tumor/fibroadenoma. Typically, fibroadenoma’s are are a common, benign condition. However, the doctor recommended doing a biopsy because that was the only way to confirm it was benign. Some of my close friends reassured me that everything would be fine, as they’ve also experienced fibroadenomas. Chelsea even came with me to get the procedure done…did I mention I have the most amazing people in my life! My biopsy results came back as atypical ductal hyperplasia, which is essentially a higher risk for forming cancer. The recommendation was to get it removed. A few days after returning from Seattle, my girlfriends (love you Chelsea and Morgan) drove me to surgery. The surgery was pretty easy! The most difficult part was not being able to drink water after midnight….I LOVE staying hydrated. To my friends disappointment, I was barely even loopy and came home and worked for the rest of the day. I was even able to fight fight through the pain and avoid pain medication. 

The following Monday, I had a follow up where I was told that the results came back as DCIS/stage 0 Breast Cancer. I was not prepared for this news and came alone, especially since we lost my stepdad to cancer just a week before. However, God made sure I knew I wasn’t alone. Last year I was with a dear friend/big sister, Aimee when she got the phone call that she had breast cancer. I’ll never forget that day for so many reasons. She told me she questioned why God had me there when she found out the news. She was happy that it was me, but just wondered why God would choose me since I was younger. However, God was really just at work…He knew my story and how this would all connect back in a little under a year. Aimee was the first person I called when I received the news and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. She’s been my go-to every step of the way and I could not be more thankful for her. My other friend that had breast cancer when she was 18 had happened to texted me that morning and asked if we could get lunch….exactly what I needed after this news and another example of God hard at work. 

The next step was to meet with a medical oncologist, a radiation oncologist and genetic counselor. The medical oncologist recommended take Tamoxifen, but after researching  the medicine, I decided not to take it as the side effects can be brutal and my gut said no. The radiation oncologist recommended more surgery and radiation. The genetic counselor informed me that I had a genetic mutation called BRIP1, however it’s a variant of unknown significance, meaning there is not enough data to say whether or not it’s directly related. 

I went forward with another surgery to get clearer margins to ensure that I was 100% cancer free. The new surgery results came back with some scattered Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia (the original reason I had surgery) and a benign tumor called Pseudoangiomatous stromal hyperplasia (PASH). 

Following my surgery, I met with the breast surgeon to discuss the next steps. My options were radiation, close monitoring or a double mastectomy. I asked her what she would do if she was me. She told me everyone sees a different solution, but she would get a mastectomy as we don’t know what else could grow back and it can almost guarantee that this will all never be a problem again. This was all very difficult to process because the type of cancer I had only required a lumpectomy. If they could guarantee that only DCIS would come back then I would just do close monitoring. However, they can’t guarantee this and I have a higher risk for something more aggressive to come back. Not only that, but I was predisposed to the disease since I was only 25 when I was diagnosed. They also found more Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia, which radiation does not kill. After many prayers, I have opted in to get a nipple and skin sparing bilateral mastectomy in December. It was not an easy decision, but it will guarantee me a life not cut short from breast cancer and perky breasts for life. I'll even have a 20 year manufacturer warranty on the new girls! 

I’ve learned so much throughout this journey and know God has just been writing my testimony. I hope that you all will be encouraged to live a healthier lifestyle, be an advocate for your health (so many woman have messaged me about how they found something and were encouraged to go to the doctors), live life fully, and love out loud more than ever. 

A huge shoutout to my family, friends, and boyfriend for the constant boob talk and supporting me every step of the way. You are definitely the stevia (is sugar still a thing) to my lemonade! Love you all!