The week and a half following my biopsy was a huge blur. I would go into detail about it, but the whole thing was a little overwhelming for me, so it wouldn’t make much sense.
Here’s what I know for sure though:
1) I have Stage IIIA Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
2) My tumor is a little over 5 cm long and has spread to at least one lymph node (as far as my doctor could tell using an ultrasound)
3) I am ER/PR+, as well as HER2+ (I guess some people call it ‘triple positive’)
4) I will have chemo first (likely start in the next 2-3 weeks) and it will last for at least 6 months, then I will most likely have a full mastectomy of my right breast, followed by radiation
5) I have taken genetics tests to see if I have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, as well as the P53 gene, but I won’t know those results for a few more weeks
6) I am the first person on either side of my family to have breast cancer
7) My chances of getting it at my age, with zero family history, and being generally healthy, were about .02% or less.
While at my oncologist’s office, my mom noticed a sign for a breast cancer support group, took a picture of it, and sent it to me. I thought it seemed pretty interesting, but at the same time I wasn’t convinced that I needed to go to one. After all, I felt like I was coping pretty well. Nevertheless, I put it on my calendar just in case.
The next week, I was having a bit of a hard day and just when I was thinking about leaving work, my phone went off and the reminder for the support popped up. It felt like a sign, and I knew that I needed to go.
Since my mom and Ivory had been going with me to all of my appointments, I decided to ask my sister to come with me to the group. Partially because I didn’t want to go alone, but also because I knew that it would be just as good for her as it would be for me.
Hand-in-hand, we walked up to the group of women aged 60 years and older, and we introduced ourselves. Even though these women had 40+ years on me, I immediately felt safe. I shared my story with them and they shared theirs with me, and I was comforted by our similarities.
Both my sister and I cried as well as laughed, and more than once someone told me how lucky I was to have my family by my side.
I could not agree more.
Despite the harshness of this situation, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more loved. And not just by my family, but also by friends, doctors, and complete strangers. It’s an overwhelming feeling, but in the best possible way.
I really am very lucky.