“In January 2021, I went for my yearly mammo and they found a suspicious area that needed to be biopsied. The biopsy showed DCIS and another area of suspicious pre-cancer cells. By February, I was meeting with my oncologist and surgeon. I had an MRI to show the breast area better so that they could determine lumpectomy vs. mastectomy. I had to wait until May 4 to have my surgery; the doctors were so overbooked with COVID cases.”
“My first surgery, a lumpectomy with sentinel node dissection, was scheduled for April 27 but was pushed to May 4 due to my doctor and the imaging place going back and forth over wire loc placement.
My doctor switched back and forth from the scheduled lumpectomy to mastectomy. So for four days, I thought May 4 would be a mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction. When my doctor called me and said, ‘I think I can get it all without having to do a mastectomy,’ I WAS RELIEVED!!
“On May 4, I had the lumpectomy. They removed the DCIS area and the suspicious pre-cancerous areas. They performed the sentinel node dissection and removed an axillary lymph node as well.
“When the pathology came back three weeks later, the cancer was determined to be HER2 positive, ER PR negative. I was devastated. The doctors did not expect these findings. Stage 0 to Stage 1. The cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes (some good news).
“My oncologist set out a plan for my treatments: 12 weeks of Taxol/Herceptin, 21 treatments of radiation, and continued Herceptin every three weeks until June 2022.
“I began chemo on June 22, 2021, and completed my 12 weeks on Tuesday, September 7. I am going for CT simulation, and then I will begin radiation. The toughest part has been the hair loss, I have a bit still hanging on, but I look quite a fright without a hat on. I can’t bring myself to shave it all off yet.
“The trip has been long so far, and I’m not there yet, but I’m pushing through. I have an amazing support system of family and friends, and my husband (my biggest supporter).
I loved the uniqueness of the set, it’s so pretty, and it goes with everything!
“I found out about your organization through Instagram. I sent away for my own set, myself. I loved the uniqueness of the set, it’s so pretty, and it goes with everything! The headscarf and the hat were perfect, as blue is my absolute favorite color. The bracelet is so ‘me” also; I love silver jewelry.
I put the Strength, Courage, Hope stones in my everyday bag, so I take them everywhere as a reminder.
“I have worn the headscarf and all of the jewelry so far. I put the Strength, Courage, Hope stones in my everyday bag, so I take them everywhere as a reminder. I’m waiting for the cooler weather to wear the hat. It’s been too humid for it so far.
“How can I help another person in my position? What words of encouragement can I say when it’s so raw for me right now? I don’t even quite know what to say to myself at times to keep me going. I’ve struggled a lot, cried a lot, been overwhelmed a lot.
“What really carried me through was my husband and family and friends. Without that support system, I would have curled up in the corner and that would have been the end for me.
“The best advice I can give would be to seek out as much help from others as you can – you would be surprised how much help you need and how very willing most people are to be there for you.
Keep as positive as you can and ask a lot of questions.
“Keep as positive as you can and ask a lot of questions. My doctor was so patient with all of my crazy questions, that is what they are there for though. DO NOT USE WEBMD or GOOGLE. You will drive yourself mad. Use the American Cancer Society website for info, and even then, limit yourself. Ask your doctor questions. He has your info and knows your specific needs and issues, and is your best resource.”