The next story comes from another friend of mine - Shellie. Please see her blog Clever Cancer Title to learn more about Shellie and her story.
Age and diagnosis
I was 31 years old when I was diagnosed. November 18, 2012. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage 2B.
Family history of BRCA mutation?
No family history. But I did have Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma when I was 13. They say by the time you find breast cancer it has been growing for about 20 years. If this is true, I see some connection with the fact that I was in my puberty years and receiving multiple CT Scans and MRI's. I never got radiation which I've heard plays a big part in young non-hodgekin fighters in getting breast cancer later on.
Who caught it?
Actually the person who caught it was a plastic surgeon. I went in for a consultation to get breast implants in May of 2012. It was very small, and I hadn't even felt it yet. But he did, but brushed it off that I was too young to worry about it. I actually scheduled surgery for December of that year (giving myself time to save up money for the surgery) I put $500 for the surgery. They never asked me to get clearance for the lump he found. When I called to cancel the surgery because I was diagnosed with cancer they denied refunding me the $500 down payment. Which at the time was a blow.
What were the signs?
From May 2012 to November when I went it... it had quadrupled in size. It was large and painful. I felt it all the time. I can't believe I just thought it would "go away' with having cancer history ... I was just in so much denial. How could I get cancer again? No, I already did my cancer time.
Did your doctors listen to you?
Yes, from the time I went into my obgyn I had a mammogram set for the next day. It was less then a week from my first visit to my diagnosis. Maybe that's why I put it off for so long. Anytime I went in for anything I always got the 3rd degree and had multiple tests that usually cost me a lot of money.
I just thought it would be one of those situations. And after 20 years of going through multiple tests... it had gotten old. I just kept thinking it would have the same outcome. You're fine.
What would you say to a young woman who thinks something might be wrong?
Don't put it off, breast cancer is a deadly disease once it spreads out of your breast. It is then stage 4 and there is no cure. It can spread, and given time it probably will. As soon as you sense anything is wrong, go in. Don't wait. It's really scary, but people are here to help every step of the way. My favorite quote is "Parts are just parts and the only one that truly matters is the heart." Whenever I get sad or scared I say that to myself like my own mantra. And its true.