In 2015 while nursing our second child, Henry, I found a lump in my breast, but the doctor felt as though it was a milk gland seeing that I was only four months post-partum and was nursing my baby. Here I was in 2018, nursing our third child, Nora, and I found a lump in the same breast, but this time, it was much bigger. I tried not to think much of it as it was just thought to be a milk gland before, but in the back of my mind, I knew it wasn’t. It was too big, too hard, and much larger than before. I made an appointment with my doctor, and after a series of tests, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on July 13, 2018.
I am 33 years old. I have a good life, I’m a mom, a wife, healthy; I guess I always had that thought that I’m too young, something like this could never happen to me. I was never vigilant about doing the breast exams like the doctor tells you to do, and had I not been nursing my baby, I more than likely would not have found the lump. The thing is, cancer does not discriminate against age, and here I am, 33 years old, diagnosed with stage 3 Breast Cancer.
The rest of my summer break was spent at an exhausting number of doctor appointments, tests, scans, and I was in a constant state of worry. I felt like my time with my family was ripped right out from underneath me, and every appointment brought worse news. I went from thinking that the lump could just be removed, to end up at the realization that this was much more involved than we originally thought.
On August 7th, 2018, I underwent a double mastectomy as well as the removal of five cancerous lymph nodes under my arm. My doctors are confident that the cancer was removed, but that was just the first step. I will not be returning to work this school year. Instead, I have a long road ahead of me of chemotherapy, radiation, and about a handful of more surgeries. This is just the beginning.
Our lives have greatly changed in such a short amount of time. My husband and I try to keep our children’s lives as normal as we can. Each night, I sit in bed with my kids and talk about their days and something fun they did, their friends they played with at school, or something silly we did at home. But now, that time is spent with them asking me if I can lay down yet or if it still hurts too much, when I will not be sick anymore, or, if I have to go to the hospital again. This hasn’t been easy. This isn’t something I ever thought I would have to put my family through. We are extremely thankful for what we have, for the people in our lives, the outpouring of help and support, and for the strength that we have found in each other. Again, this is just the beginning, but I hope a year’s time, two years’ time, however long it takes, that I will be able to lay in bed with my kids at night, not sit, and tell them, “no, Mommy is not sick anymore.”
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