Survivor Stories 2013:
How did you first find out you had cancer?
I found a lump, went to my OB, and eventually had a mammogram and biopsy. After telling me not to lose sleep because there was no way it was cancer since I was “only” 32, the OB called me back into his office and told me that it was indeed cancer. My 21-month-old son was sitting next to me in his stroller eating Cheerios as I received the news, completely unaware.
How did you react when you heard the news?
My first question for the doctor was, “Will I be able to have more children?” Other than that, I didn’t break down until my son and I were home. He was a good distraction.
What course of treatment were you prescribed?
I had a unilateral mastectomy, six rounds of chemo, 28 rounds of radiation, and now I’m on Tamoxifen.
What most surprised you about your treatment?
It was all a surprise, really, since I had no idea what to expect going into it.
What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
Ask your doctor to prescribe something for the anxiety. I wish someone had told me to do that! Also, make a list of things you will need to do and give yourself a big check mark every time something gets completed. It always made me feel better.
How long have you been cancer free?
The mastectomy was a little more than four years ago.
What lessons did you learn from the experience?
I learned about the people in my life, the good and the bad. I also learned what’s important and what’s not. And that sometimes I just need to look out for myself.
If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?
Check yourselves, know your body and if something doesn’t feel right, see your doctor. Be vigilant. There’s no such thing as “too young” for breast cancer and it will do you no good to stick your head in the sand. The sooner it’s caught, the better your chances are.
I live in Northern New Jersey with my husband of 10 years and our 6-year-old son. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 32 years old and I am now 37. I love to read, I am a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, and I love hockey and the Yankees.