Through self-examination, in January of 2017 I found a lump near my nipple area in my right breast. Without any hesitation, I immediately scheduled a doctor visit to get a medical opinion, she too felt the lump. It was advised that I receive further testing, and on February 2 I went in for an ultrasound and mammogram with a Diagnostic Radiology Specialist, and he too discover the lump and more. He noticed that there were two other concerning areas, and quickly afterwards I was scheduled to get 3 biopsies, one for each of the concerning areas.
On, Feb 24th I went in for a Steretactic Biospy and an Ultrasound Breast Biopsy and anxiously waited for a week to hear about my results. On March 1st, I received the call that nobody wants to get, cancer had been found in all three areas of my right breast. I was diagnosed with Stage 0 to Stage 1 of HER2+ Breast Cancer, one of the most aggressive tumor types of breast cancer. I also took the Ambry Genetics (BRCAplus-Expanded test to confirm if I carried the pathlogical gene associated with breast cancer and that report came back negative. Thank God for that result.
My journey was happening so fast, from the time I found my first lump it was a snowball effect. March 21st I received my chemo port surgery and then started my first session of chemotherapy on the March 23rd. I spent my summer on a 21-day chemo cycle with the following Chemo Cocktail: Perjeta, Herceptin, Taxotere, Carboplatin, & Fosaprepitant. Along with that regimen, I had to take Dexamethasone/DECADRON which included 2 tablets by mouth twice a day for 5 doses starting the morning prior to Taxotere; 1 Zyrtec tablet was taken one hour prior to chemotherapy; an injection of ZARXIO shots had to be taken daily for 3 days beginning 24 hours after chemo in my stomach. In total I completed 6 harsh chemotherapy sessions staring March 23rd up until my last session on July 13th. A month later, I had a bilateral mastectomy surgery along with breast reconstruction surgery on August 14th, and on August 29th I received the great news from my surgeon that the pathological test results and test of my lymph nodes came back benign, the chemo had terminated the cancer. On November 2, I started with the second phase of breast reconstruction surgery to getting implants.
Although technically cancer free, my journey still continued. I continued with the drug Herceptin for up to a year due to the risks of my HER2+ tumor. My final treatment was on May, 24th 2018 (The day I rung the PINK BELL AS A SURVIVOR) I continued with breast reconstruction and due to complications of scarred tissue on my left breast, I had to redo the entire breast reconstruction surgery again getting new implants on July, 9th 2018. I hope to complete the final stage (part 3) of breast reconstruction in December 2018 by my plastic surgeon, Dr. Max Yeslev.
I share these dates and milestones with you to share just how quickly life can change. In a 14 months I went from cancer fighter to survivor. I had alot of side effects along the way also, but I am very grateful for God's Glory that has shined on me in the conclusion of my breast cancer journey. Through all the side effects, changes and challenges that I endured through my journey, I’m grateful to be alive to share my testimony of God’s grace and glory. Early detection saved my life but here I stand alive and growing stronger each day. Self-examination was truly the key that unlocked my Glory and saved my LIFE! My mission now is to encourage other women in their fight and give back in every way I can through care baskets and sisterhood.
Be blessed ladies, and if you do nothing else practice self-love with self-examination.