Thank you for sharing Ashley and we wish you all the best.
Operation “Keep ‘Em Bouncing”…That’s the name I’ve bequeathed to my cancer journey. It says to me that while I might have cancer, it’s not going to keep me, my boobs or my spirit down.
My name is Ashley. I am a 29 year old wife to a career Firefighter, mother to a 10 year old boy and 5 year old girl, and daughter. I love to read and spend time outdoors. I enjoy being with my family. My favorite holiday is Christmas. I am deathly afraid of mice. And I am recently diagnosed with Triple Negative Stage 2B Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I may have breast cancer, but it certainly doesn’t have me.
Let’s be honest. You don’t really spend your 20’s thinking you’ll have to check your boobs for lumps or any of those “older folk” diseases. Sure, every October I wore a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness. I donated to the various cancer charities. But I never thought it could happen to me. There wasn’t any concerning family history. My doctor would always check me when I went for my physical. I didn’t worry about it. Then about 8 months ago, I started feeling some pain in my left breast. Nothing too bad, almost familiar to when you have your period and your boobs ache. I had had a hysterectomy a few months before, so I just chalked it up to my body regulating itself to not having a period. A few months ago, the pain got worse and I started having some nipple discharge. I figured it might have been my body doing it’s whacked out thing and popped a few Advil. I had a physical at the beginning of September with my doctor and made a note to mention it to him. When he did the exam he became concerned. He sent me for a mammogram and ultrasound. Now, I don’t know if you have had a mammo done. Imagine them placing your breast onto a plate and flattening it out like a man BBQ-ing a juicy hamburger. Plus they attach a metal BB to your nipple with a super adhesive tape. I am pretty positive that a man came up with that idea, because no woman in her right mind would ever put anything sticky on her nipple then have to tear it off. Yikes. After that joyous moment, I went for the ultrasound. It was there that I could see something was wrong. The tech called for the radiologist to come in. She said there were a few concerning areas on both tests and that I was being sent next door to the breast specialist. At that appointment, I learned more about my bosoms than even a man would know. I had a concerning lump and some calcifications in my left breast. I was then scheduled for an MRI, to be followed by a biopsy. What an adventure the MRI was! Imagine lying face down with your boobs in a special holder, but you have to kinda hold yourself up at the same time AND stay as still as possible. For 45 minutes. And when they pushed the contrast, I felt like I had wet my pants. Jeez. Anyway, it took a few days for those results and then I was scheduled for my biopsy. I won’t go into those details, except for I had three places in my boob biopsied-one for the calcifications and two for the lump- and one in my armpit. I’ll say it laid me low for a few days. The next week was probably the hardest week. You have this cloud over your head until you know. Finally, the call came that my specialist wanted me to come in to discuss the results. When she told me, I felt like laughing. I think I did. I have breast cancer, which had involved my lymph node. I needed to start treatment right away. I met my oncologist, who is wonderful and patient and makes me feel like everything will be ok. Telling my husband was hard, facing my kids was worse. They took it well, and both offered to cut their hair in support of me. My daughter was nice enough to say that she would still go to the store with me even if I had no hair.
So here I am. After delaying my treatment for a week so I could get over a cold/cough that my daughter was kind enough to give me, I start chemotherapy this week. I plan on waiting for my hair to start falling out, then my husband will shave my head and I will donate my hair (I have A LOT of hair!) to a charity. I have cleaned my house and purged the clutter and disinfected within an inch of any germ’s life. I will be doing chemo for the next 3 months, then having new scans. Those scans will tell me if I need more surgery, more chemo, or I am in remission. My goal is to be healthy by the time I turn 30, which is December 29. I might be loosing my hair, tossing my cookies, and basically being a zombie, but darn it I am going to fight this and I am going to give it my all. Because I am 29 and I have a wonderful man that I vowed to spend the rest of my life with and rock on the front porch with. Because I want to see my daughter become the accomplished dancer I know she is. Because my son still calls me Mommy and holds my hand and thinks I am the only woman he will ever love. I am determined to beat cancer because I am not giving in.
Please learn from me and no matter what your age or stage in life, check your breasts. If you don’t know how to do an exam, ask your doctor to show you. Do not think that your doctor will think you are silly if you feel something and it turns out to be nothing. Because it just takes one little lump to turn into something. Early detection saves lives. I can’t preach that enough. If I had went in when my symptoms first started, I wouldn’t be writing this. Check yo’ self every month. Heck, even have your husband check for you. He can pick up on something that you might have missed. I am lucky because my cancer was found before it could spread. October is the awareness month, but every month every woman needs to be aware.
Operation “Keep ‘Em Bouncing” is in full effect.
Keep your girls bouncing too.
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We will have lots of fun, PINK giveaways and most importantly, topics on women’s health. Hear from cancer survivors, those like Ashley who are FIGHTING and those making plans due to genetics. Such a great topic and we NEED to be informed! For more information, HERE is all of the information you need to join and participate! Hope to see you all there!