The next story comes from Nicole, and you can find her blog, When I Speak His Name, here. If you click on the provided link, you'll find more details about what she has been through.
Age and Diagnosis
I was 28 when I was diagnosed with Stage 3c invasive ductal carcinoma. [When I heard that her breast cancer diagnosis was stage 3c, I actually lost my breath.] It was grade 2 Estrogen and Progesterone positive and HER2 negative.
Family History or BRCA?
My mom was diagnosed with stage 0 DCIS and after 2 lumpectomies without clean margins she opted for a mastectomy and they found Mucinous carcinoma. My paternal grandfather on my had esophageal cancer and then 12 years later was diagnosed with breast cancer and he eventually died from cancer. My maternal grandmother died from lung cancer.
So with all this family history my doctors were a little surprised when my BRAC Analysis came back negative. They held a sample back for the new BART (BRACAnalysis Large Rearrangement Test), but my insurance didn't cover it. Six months later my insurance decided to cover it and they found a rare mutation on my BRCA2 gene. It was surprisingly passed down my father's side of the family.
Who caught it?
I was putting lotion on one morning after getting in the shower and rubbed the side of my breast from right under my armpit forward and had I not pressed a little harder than normal I could have completely missed it. But it was in my right breast closer to my chest wall and it was big. I remember calling my husband in and asking him to feel and I will never forget the look on his face.
Did your doctors listen to you?
I actually had to wait six weeks to go to the doctor for my insurance to become effective. By the grace of God my company had decided after six months of me working there to offer insurance. I love my doctor and I will never forget what she said, "Let's not worry until there's something to worry about. It's a one and a million chance, but let's just be on the safe side." During my chemo induced insomnia I actually did the math - it's actually 1 in 7.4 million. But a week later I was in for an ultrasound and mammogram and thanks to an amazing radiologist My lump (which a new one had popped up so there were now two) was biopsied the next day.
What would you say to a young woman who thinks something might be wrong?
Be your own advocate. I always worried that I was a hypochondriac when I didn't feel good, but in my heart I knew something was going on and I knew when I found that lump that it was cancer. Had I been doing self exams I may have found it sooner. I think as women, God gives us a special intuition that men don't have....It's why we make good mothers. And it's that intuition that can save your life. "Better safe than sorry" has taken on a whole new meaning in my life. Had I waited much longer I would be talking to you now as a stage 4 cancer patient.