December 3, 2018
Real Stories

Meet Heather

I'm Heather and this is my story...

Ever since high school I've always checked myself in the shower for breast lumps monthly. In my mind each time I would think "please don't be there...nothing is there...I'm ok!". Then one day in 2016, I found something. At first I was in denial as I was feeling this small lump; thinking it was just extra tissue or something.But the more I was feeling it, I knew it wasn't normal. I went to my doctor and asked her to check for me. She said "oh, I think I know what that is. I wouldn't worry about it and think it's what you think it might be". So happily I left thinking everything was fine, with a small doubt in the back of my mind that..."what if". No tests were done as my doctor didn't feel it necessary. 

A year had gone by, I got pregnant with my second child (a boy). After he was born, a couple months had passed and as I was showering, I did my usual check of my breasts and noticed that previous lump was bigger and painful! Anytime I touched it or brushed against it, it would hurt. I returned to my doctor whom was a different person and he checked and said it was very deep and he sent me for an ultrasound. The results mentioned a mammogram and biopsy were recommended; So I went for those tests as well as another ultrasound. I was sent to a surgeon specialist to review the results. On December 20th, 2017, I was diagnosed with invasive carcinoma breast cancer. I had a 6cm lump in my left breast and another lump about 3cm in my lymph node under my left armpit. My thoughts and emotions were confused and unsettling. I was in shock for probably weeks until I could really accept what was happening to me. My surgeon told me the cancer was very aggressive and because I had gotten pregnant, the cancer had grown a lot faster. She also said that I was to go on chemotherapy for about 6 months before surgery. She also ordered for many other tests to check the rest of my body. Thankfully all the other tests came back clean and it was only in the breast and lymph node. 

I am 29 years old, turning 30 this May. I didn't expect to go through this at such a young age. I was living life great with my 2 beautiful healthy children; my daughter who is turning 5 this July and my son who is turning 1 this August. It's challenging to go through this with my kids,and especially my youngest being so much more dependent. However, they are what are keeping me fighting for my life and keeping me distracted as well. So far I have had 3 treatments and still have 13 more to go. The first 4 treatments are every 3 weeks, and the last 12 treatments will be every week for 12 weeks. Then 6 weeks after my last treatment will be surgery. I have no record of breast cancer in my family history that I could find out. I went for a genetics test,and I'm still anxiously awaiting those results. 

For now, it's just about trying to get through the treatments and keeping busy to help manage my emotions. I wanted to share my story in hopes it will spread awareness. I feel that even if your doctor says not to worry about it and doesn't get you tested, that you should take matters into your own hands and get tested to know for yourself and catch it earlier than later in life. I don't blame myself that I didn't do that in 2016 when I first found it...I can't because that's not being fair to myself under the circumstances I'm now facing. I blame my doctor for not doing her job responsibly as that's what doctors are for. You go to them for help and trust that whatever they tell you is the right thing. The only good thing that came positive about not finding out it was cancer in 2016, was that now I have a beautiful and healthy son that I wouldn't of had if I had found out then. The important thing now is to get rid of this cancer and live my life with my family.

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