In case COVID didn’t have us all freaked out already, I’d noticed a small lump in my left breast during a self-check sometime mid-March and so I made an appointment with my OB/GYN.
“You know, let’s just get a picture,” she said. So they scheduled me an ultrasound on April 8.
The ultrasound tech was so sweet. She said, “I’m just going to look at your armpit now.” Then, “I’m just going to take a look at the other side.”
OK. So I already know something’s suspicious. Then, my radiologist said, “I think we should do a mammogram, can you do it right now?”
Sure. From there, I was scheduled for a biopsy at the end of the day.
I was sitting on the couch on the following Sunday night (Easter for the rest of you, but Palm Sunday for us Orthodox Christians), and I asked Justin if I should open the results on MyChart. When I read the words “consistent with invasive ductal carcinoma,” all I could really think to say was “f*ck.”
Very eloquent, I know.
After that, April has been a bit of a whirlwind, but in all honesty, things may not have moved so quickly if it weren’t for COVID, so I’m thankful.
I met with my surgeon who was kind and straightforward, provided me with plenty of statistics, and educated me on the likely treatment options. She was also the one to let me know my pathology results…
I have triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). The mass in my left breast is about 1.8cm and I have no lymph node involvement so we’re calling it Stage I for now.
Unfortunately, unlike other breast cancers which may be estrogen, progesterone, or HER2 positive, TNBC does not respond to hormonal treatment. It does, however, respond very well to chemo.
More than anything, the waiting is the hardest part. I only recently was able to speak with a reproductive endocrinologist about options to preserve my fertility during chemo. I’ll start the process to freeze some eggs ASAP and hope it’s okay to delay chemo for a few more weeks until that’s done.
I’ll meet with my oncologist for the first time this Tuesday, and I can’t express enough how relieved I will be to finally have a treatment plan ready to go.
Back in December, on my last night as a twenty-something, I remember it being really important for me to catch the sunset. Which we did, from my sister-in-law’s lanai, and it was beautiful. I still remember thinking that there would be a lot in store for me this year, and now I know that this year will mean radical transformation for me, both physically and emotionally.
Although, no one ever wants to say the words “I have cancer,” I do know that this is part of my journey on this earth for a reason. I can’t help but think that every decision I’ve made in the last year (changing jobs and working in our women’s health department) has made me more prepared than ever to take this all in stride. I’m grateful for the knowledge, resources and support I have. Keep me in your prayers.