Join Me in the Fight Against Breast Cancer
It all started on October 26, 2011–10 days after my 30th high school reunion. I went for my annual exam. Ten minutes into the visit, my gynecologist (Katy Irani—may she rest in peace) said, (4 words). Thirty minutes later, I was having a mammogram (a month before my regularly scheduled one) and an ultrasound. An hour later, Ruth, my wonderful technician took me into a room and put me on the phone with Dr. Irani, who said, (4 words), and to find a surgeon and schedule a biopsy ASAP. Ruth never let go of my hand. She was the first of many angels I met on my journey. Six days later, I had a biopsy, and on November 4, 2011, my world turned upside down when I heard, “ ” (4 words). I was 48 years old.
Part of my story involves how and where I received my diagnosis. I am a lobbyist for a financial services company, and the day after my biopsy, I traveled to Washington, D.C., on a business trip. As every cancer patient knows, the thing you crave most is normalcy. While I didn’t yet know that I was a cancer patient, I craved normalcy and the thought of sitting at home; waiting for the results was unbearable to me. I was in a meeting room with about 75 people when my cellphone started ringing, and I could see it was the surgeon’s office. I made it out to the lobby where the diagnosis was delivered. It was as if all of the air had left the building. All I wanted to do was to get back to my room to call my Mom. I held it together until she picked up the phone, and I burst into tears. I felt like a child who falls off her bike and doesn’t cry until she gets home to Mom.
I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 2B. I had a lumpectomy a week before Thanksgiving. My margins were not clean, and I had node involvement. I chose to have a single mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, and I’ve never regretted that decision. The surgery was 4 days before Christmas–Happy Holidays to me! I had 8 rounds of chemo–4 Red Devils (Adriamycin & Cytoxan) followed by 4 Taxols. I lost all of my hair and started reconstruction during chemo. I finished treatment on May 2, 2012 –“” (4 words)–and had reconstructive surgery later that summer with the final surgery that fall. I am currently taking Letrazole after 5 years of Tamoxifen. I still have neuropathy in my feet, but it is gone from my hands.
I have met the most incredible people on this journey I never signed up for. I am proud to be a survivor. I feel blessed every day. My sister survivors & thrivers are the bravest women I have ever met. They give me hope and courage every day. I hit the 7 year survivorship mark last November. Some days, it feels like yesterday, and other days, it feels like a lifetime ago. Some days, I scratch and claw my way through, but most days I just feel incredibly lucky. My final 4 words would be, “Go live your life."
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