My Journey

This was my summer of control, running every day, losing 20 pounds, meeting my 45th birthday with pride. My general checkup showed amazing blood work and kudos for the weight loss. Then I went for my mammogram. Having dense breasts, a return visit was a familiar experience. Then I was asked to wait for the radiologist. What?? It was likely a radial scar, but it would not hurt to check in with a breast care specialist. So, my nurse navigator chose one within the amazing group, and the consult was set up. After an ultrasound, biopsy, genetic testing (which came up negative), and several sleepless nights, it was discovered that I had Stage 1 IDC. Very small, very early.....Next was the plastic surgeon consult - I opted for a double mastectomy. The cancer was only on the left side, but I was not taking any chances. Fast forward, I had my double on January 5. My lymph nodes were clear and there was such a small amount of cancer, all found and removed during the surgery. No chemo, no radiation, and about to begin Tamoxifen. Recovery has been tough - expanders are crazy and strange! Reconstruction will be soon, and I am ready to get back to work in between. I have been fortunate to have an amazing team of doctors and nurses around me who have answered every question and led me through this journey. Most of all, my family and friends really showed me what love and friendship are all about. I am finally feeling like I am recovering - relieved to not have to go through chemo or radiation - sending strength, prayers and positive thoughts to those who do. We are stronger than we think we are. Don't be afraid to ask for help, whether it is for yourself or for your loved ones. Get your kids the help they need in order to navigate through the uncertainty of it all, no matter how much they protest! Allow yourself to feel....talk to your significant other....listen to what they have to say as well!
Jacqui Gross
Fanwood, NJ