Hello Friends! The next amazing young woman I'd like for you all to read about is Sophia. I can't say enough great things about this woman. Seriously. She's one of my inspirations that got my behind into running.
Diagnosis and Family History?
•Diagnosed at age 28 – Triple Negative Breast Cancer – Stage 2A
•Mother diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer – Stage 3B (OBGYN was made aware of this once I found out)
Who caught it?
In February of 2012 I felt a small pea-sized lump on the lower inside area of my left breast. The lump sat right on-top of the wire of my bra. I continued to monitor it and a few weeks later went to the doctor to get it checked. During my appointment, my OBGYN assured me it was "normal" but advised that I stop drinking soda and coffee because "caffeine often leads to overactive milk ducts". I quickly responded with, "I don't drink coffee or soda." She giggled and said, "Well then I'm sure it's just something that will go away with time."
I left the office and felt this uneasy feeling in my gut. I continued to monitor the lump and a few months later it became painful. Often times I would be sitting at my desk at work and feel a sharp pulsating sensation. Every time I would go for a run, I could feel the lump rub against my sports bra and it became increasingly painful. I decided to hop on the computer and started to research my symptoms. To my surprise, I came across many blogs and forums where women described their breast cancer discovery very similar to mine, but they were all older women so I felt at ease. "It can't happen to me, I'm 28, these ladies are all over 40!"
Finally, I decided to return to my physician and demand an answer. A few weeks later I met with the nurse practitioner who conducted the usual breast exam. Once again, she assured me it was nothing serious and that it felt very much like a cyst. I questioned her – and I'm glad I did. I asked if it could possibly be cancer. She chuckled. "No, I highly doubt it. You're so young and full of energy" She was right. I was young. I am young. I was full of energy, thankfully enough energy to push and demand a mammogram despite my age. After hours of controversy with the imaging center, I was able to make an appointment for an ultrasound ater being told over five times that a mammogram will NOT be conducted due to my age. When I arrived at the facility, I was pleasantly greeted by the check-in nurse and reminded that I "will not be having a mammogram today due to (your) age." I smiled and said, "sure thing. I won't leave until I get one." That visit seemed to have last several hours. The technician took me back to the room and conducted the ultrasound on my breast. Talk about painful. She was surprised to discover how uncomfortable the procedure was for me. Any pressure she applied felt like a knife cutting my breast. After the ultrasound was finished, I was instructed to wait back in the waiting area for the next available OBG. Ten minutes later, I received a mammogram and the rest is history. My OBGYN didn't save my life, my persistency saved my life. The fact that I was "young and full of energy" saved my life. My gut feeling to question the doctors presumptuous diagnosis, saved my life.
What would you say to a young woman who thinks she might have something wrong?
My advice – it's ok to question doctors. They, just like us, are human. They don't feel what we feel. They don't walk our daily lives. If I would've allowed her credentials to overcast my gut feeling, who knows where I'd be.
Please visit the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation for more information.