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But 30 doesn't seem old enough for Breast Cancer

29/09/14 I was diagnosed with 'the dirty C word' at the age of 30. 2 days later I had a nipple sparing bilateral mastectomy with 18 Lymph nodes removed, 2 were found cancerous. The cancer was 30mm & oestrogen receptive. I did IVF & froze 4 eggs before starting 6 rounds of chemo in November. My last chemotherapy was on 19/02/15. 01/14/15 I started breath-hold radiotherapy at Peter MacCallum 5 days a week for 5 weeks. My last radiotherapy is on the 06/05/15!

For the most part of this crazy journey i've stayed pretty positive with moments of frustration. It's pretty rare for me to even think 'why me?' when i understand there are soo many people in the world who are worse off. There will always be someone else who is worse off than you. I also have a pretty good understanding that a lot of your suffering can be mental. The more positive you are, the easier it is to cope and for the people around you to cope.

There is still the odd day where I do find it pretty tough, especially when you're fatigued. Some mornings I don't want to get out of bed. I want to close my eyes and wake up to how things were before, or wake up when all these hospital visits are over.

I wouldn't say that I'm glad that this happened to me. What I do know is that, it's changed how I see things and a lot of people. I have a greater appreciation for the good people in my life and an even lesser tolerance for others. I realised that my time is precious and you just never know when something unexpected could take what is currently your life away from you or someone you love.

Monica
MELBOURNE, Australia

Cha-Cha's Journey-Life After Diagnosis

In 2006 at the age of 35 my sister passed away from breast cancer and left her four boy's the youngest was just a few month's old. This was devastating She was my only sister and she was my hero. My mother promised her that she would keep all of her boy's and look after them. Four years later my mother had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. The doctor told me it was brain metastasis.

How could i tell the children this news? They lost their mother now their grandmother. What about me.. My only sister is gone.. Now my mother too!! I spent the next few month's taking my mother to chemotherapy and radiation. Within a year of diagnosis she passed away. I then became stronger than I've ever been or thought I could be. I took care of my son and my sister's youngest two children. Life is full of many struggles and hardship, let's face it life just isn't fair and the odds are definitely not always in our favor. I was faced with a great deal of responsibilities sometimes more than i could handle.

However things started to look up for me, I was on a popular television show and I started hosting. One night Aug 2014 I felt a lump.. I immediately began to cry. I knew In My heart it was cancer! I cried for my boy's that night, all I could do is think about them and how this will hurt them. A biopsy confirmed it was cancer! I started making appointments immediately. I got a second opinion on everything! Now I am 35 and have stage 2 breast cancer with lymph node involvement. I decided to get chemo first then have a lumpectomy and all lymph nodes removed and the final step will be radiation. After 8 rounds of chemo bi-weekly my tumor had shrunk so small the doctor couldn't feel a thing. The test from my surgery showed NO signs of cancer. I am currently undergoing radiation treatment. I feel hopeful and thankful!

Charslyn Brown
Miramar, FL

SAGE'S PRESCRIPTION

I was diagnosed with breast cancer, estrogen + and HER2Nu +, for my birthday in February 2010. Here are some prescriptions that I received that I know can help anyone on his / her cancer journey:

1. FAITH - can't have enough of that. He will be with you and will carry you when you can't find the strength to stand on your own. Romans 15:13.

2. ATTITUDE / LIVE FOR TODAY - We never know when or how we will die, but we can choose how to live. Attitude is such a positive.

3. SLEEP - don't fight it. As we sleep, we are healing.

4. LAUGHTER:

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed that she had only three hairs on her head. "Well, I think I'll braid my hair today." She did and had a wonderful day.

The next day, she saw that she had only two hairs and said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today." She did and had a grand day.

The next day, she noticed that she had only one hair and said, "I'm going to wear a pony tail today." She did and had a fun day.

The next day she didn't have a hair on her head. She said, "Yippeeee--I don't have to fix my hair today."

5. PRAYER - Prayer is the key to the morning and the bolt on the door at night.

It is not an easy journey, and each one of has to find her way, but we are NOT alone. I am now a five-year survivor, and God is using me to help other women coming behind me. We have helped over 1200 women and 6 men in 4 1/2 years through The Sparkle Caps Project. Paying it forward through the charity I founded is part of the healing process for me.

Susan "Victorious" Heimbigner
Sumter, SC

Showing our Support

Our mother was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer 8 years ago which, may I add, she is doing absolutely FANTASTIC!! To show our support for her, my sister and I decided to surprise her with this tattoo to show how much she truly means to us. We decided to make it even more personal of a tattoo by putting the word “Mom", located inside the ribbon, in her own handwriting! These past 8 years have been a lot of ups and downs but our strong faith in the Lord and each other always finds a way to conquer those low times! I thank God and cherish every day we are able to spend another day as a family, I love you more than words can express mom!

Heidi Johnson
Kewaskum, WI

Breast Cancer Survivor

I felt a lump in 2010 but when it didn't want to go away, I went to my gynecologist in January 2011 and sent me for surgery. I was 37 then. Feb and March I had 2 operations because it was stage 1 breast cancer in grade 3 already. After operations I went through 6 chemo therapy and just after that 6 weeks of radiation. No breasts removed, only cut out. I was also told I'm not allowed to fall pregnant because I got hormonal cancer for which I have to take Tamoxifen everyday. Just 6 weeks ago I went for a full hysterectomy. I thank God for all the support from friends and family, and giving me a lovely understanding husband who I married to 4 Oct 2014. Not one of us got any kids but we grateful I'm still very much alive!!!

Chantal du Toit
Cape Town, South Africa

Breast cancer at 32

I was 32 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. My daughter was 3 years old. The dr's couldn't believe it cause I was so young. I always tell people it's the best thing that happened to me because I change my outlook on life. I changed my priorities and I'm a much happier person. It's been 7 years and I'm healthy and more importantly I'm alive. I'm not allowed to have any more children but I have a chance to see my beautiful daughter grow up

Carina Coetzee
Johannesburg, South Africa

Car accident saved me

I was 39 when I had a car accident in August 2013. A driver went into me and I had whiplash and seatbelt bruising on my breast. A month later I went to the doctor as I discovered a lump deep in my breast. She suspected it was a blood clot or damaged breast tissue but referred me to have a mammo. The specialist suspected the same and I had to wait another week for a mammo. When I had the mammo I was called next door for ultrasound and then a biopsy still thinking it's all because of the accident. A week later I had to go back for results with devastating news. An Invasive ductal carcinoma grade 2 hormone positive 5-7cm. Lymph glands positive. The breast specialist offered me 5 months chemo first to reduce size of lump and lumpectomy which failed to remove margin, so then I was told I had to have a mastectomy. I opted to have both removed with immediate reconstruction followed by 3 weeks radiotherapy and 10 years tamoxifen.

My babies kept me going through my tough treatment and now Ive been given the clear. I'm thankful to my husband friends and family who supported me and the stories from others that gave me support and hope.

Cheryl
Torquay, United Kingdom

Believe

July 2012 diagnosed with ILC, Stage 3. Followed with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation and more surgery. I am happy to now be 32 months CANCER FREE!!! Stay prayerful, stay positive, believe and remember to BREATHE.. I survived and became a stronger woman than I thought possible. LIFE IS GOOD, SO ENJOY IT TO THE FULLEST!!

Michele Litteken
Oakville, MO

My diagnosis also led to my younger sister being diagnosed.

I went in for my yearly OB-GYN appointment in June 2014. I was 36 at the time. She had told me to get a baseline mammogram done last year at my visit, but life got in the way, and I just didn't do it. This time I promised her I would do it. My mammogram was in July. I was called back a few days later saying they wanted me to come in for additional pictures. I was not afraid, because I had been told years before I had dense breast tissue, and they mentioned it was more than likely just that. When I had the diagnostic mammogram taken, they immediately scheduled me for a biopsy of my left side. I was supposed to get a call with the results of the biopsy. The night of August 26th I realized they hadn't called, but I wasn't worried. However, the next morning, the morning of my oldest son's 14th birthday, my OB-GYN herself called me. As soon as I heard her voice, I knew I was in trouble. She said I was DCIS stage 0...essentially catching it extremely early. After my BRCA2 test came back inconclusive however, I was adamant about getting a double mastectomy, I just didn't want to go through this again later in life, and felt in my heart this was the best way. During the mastectomy they would also do the lymph node biopsy. That is when they found that the cancer had spread, and I was actually Stage 2 with a very aggressive strain. My little sister was then tested at age 34, and also diagnosed with DCIS stage 0. She also had a double, and thankfully no other cancer was found. I am going through chemo and then radiation now, and am very confident I will be cancer free when all of this is done. I am also blessed that my sister was diagnosed, because she would never had gone at age 34 for a mammogram had I not been diagnosed, so I am thankful for my diagnosis, because it helped my sister too.

Brooke Dalton
Maumee, OH

my breast cancer story

I was 26 years old when I found out that I had the brca1 gene. I remember being devastated as if someone had just told me I had cancer. My breast surgeon and oncologist tried to convince me to have a double mastectomy to reduce my chances of getting cancer but I was very hopeful that I would be that small percentage to never get cancer. December 25, 2014 I started getting a lot of pain in my left breast. It was so bad I had to take a pain pill. I started to worry but people told me to relax cause cancer isn't painful so it's probably something else causing the pain. I had a mammogram February 2015 which showed I had no cancer. I felt so much relief considering I was worried about the pain I had felt. I met with my oncologist a week later for a routine check up and her intern examined me first, I could tell by her reaction she felt something. My oncologist told me I have dense breast and sometimes my tissue will feel harder. Since she could see I was still nervous she sent me for a breast sonogram. The sonongram did show something, where the mammogram did not. I wound up needing a biopsy. The very next day after my biopsy I was told to come in. I knew walking into the office it wasn't going to be good news. Sure enough at the age of 28 I was diagnosed with invasive ductal cancer and triple negative cancer. There are no words to describe exactly how getting news like that feels. I was in denial, I made jokes, I cried. I didn't know how to react or believe this was happening to me. Since I got my results I have started the egg rescuing process to save my eggs before my double mastectomy and chemo. I just thank god that I was lucky enough to catch my cancer so early. And that I didn't just accept the mammo results, I followed my gut, because I knew something was wrong.

Anonymous
staten island, NY
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