My New Year's Resolution for 2004 was to floss and perform monthly breast self-exams. During my first self-exam in January I found a lump. Obviously flossing fell by the way side since most of my time was spent feeling my boob and arguing with Dr’s in order to receive a biopsy. They told me I was too young to have breast cancer and to come back for a baseline mammogram at age 35.
I finally received a biopsy and found out I had breast cancer at the age of 27. I had a bi-lateral mastectomy, reconstruction, Chemo, Arimidex and Herceptin. My husband and I chose not to have children due to the risk of recurrence and I had a Hysterectomy/Oophorectomy for my 30th birthday. Not exactly my birthday wish come true but it has allowed me to celebrate many more birthdays. Bonus-no periods. Bummer-hot flashes.
My breast cancer diagnosis changed my life. I’ve realized that all the clichés are true; “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, “Live every day like it’s your last”, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I work hard to set positive intentions and to be the best me I can be.
I encourage women to do monthly breast self-exams, get yearly mammograms, trust their intuition and get a second opinion until they feel they have received the care they deserve. Next March I will celebrate 13 years of being cancer free and am so excited to continue this journey for many years to come.