May 22, 2015 is a day I will never forget, the day I received a phone call that turned my world upside down. It was 5 months before our wedding and we had just mailed our save the dates. I went to get a lump that I found checked out, not expecting it to turn into anything. After an ultrasound, mammogram and biopsy, I anxiously awaited my results. I was at work when I got the call, “I’m sorry, but it’s breast cancer…” I could not believe the words I had just heard, this cannot be real. So many thoughts raced through my head; I’m 28, I live a healthy life style, no one in my family has ever had breast cancer, how could this be happening? I can remember every moment from that call like it was yesterday, and I knew the hardest part would be telling my fiancé and my family. The next few days and weeks were a blur as I went through numerous doctor’s appointments, additional testing and more waiting. Eventually I got my final diagnosis of Stage 1 triple positive breast cancer.
Over the past year I’ve gone through six aggressive chemo treatments, a bilateral mastectomy with reconstructive surgery, a year of Herceptin treatments and now ten years of hormone therapy; and yet, I’ve still never even had a cavity! Being diagnosed with cancer not only changes you physically, but mentally and emotionally. As my one year anniversary of finishing chemo approaches, my life has finally returned to a “new normal”. It is a great feeling being able to look in the mirror again and finally recognize myself. I find that I now have trouble looking back at pictures as I documented my journey, but it’s an amazing reminder of how strong I am, something in which I never knew until I received that call. My cancer diagnosis was extremely emotional and difficult, but I gained my strength from my loving husband, my wonderful family and loyal friends.
As the days go on, and May 22nd gets further into the past, I find that while the thought of cancer isn’t always present, there has yet to be a day that goes by that I do not think about what I’ve gone through. I’ll still have those random days where that sudden fear of a re-occurrence pops into my head, and the fear and anxiety from those days return. As a survivor, I’m not sure if that will ever go away, but over the last year, those thoughts and fears have lessened. I’m truly lucky and thankful for finding my lump when I did, because I know how bad it could have been.