I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in February of 2020. I was 33 years old, had a 19-month-old daughter and was 33 weeks pregnant with my second child. I was picking my daughter up from daycare when I got the call. When I answered the phone, I was in total shock and disbelief. The only thing I could manage to do was call my husband to come get my daughter and I and go home.
With some help, I was able to get to see an amazing doctor in the next couple of days. From there I had many meetings with my oncologist, surgery and the Strong High-Risk prenatal team. We all needed to work closely together to figure out what would be best for me as well as the baby. After much deliberation we all agreed that the best course of action would be to wait five weeks until I was 37 weeks pregnant, do the lumpectomy and have the prenatal team on standby during surgery. The surgery went well and I was induced exactly two weeks later. I delivered a healthy, perfect, baby boy on March 25th 2020. After I had the baby I had 7 weeks home with him before I needed to start treatment. I had four rounds of TC chemo followed by 21 radiation treatments. After active treatment I started on injections every 12 weeks and AI medication. Immediately after treatment I had many debilitating side effects, but they eventually dissipated. My parents wound up moving in with us so having them and my husband with me at all times helped tremendously.
I contacted the Breast Cancer Coalition early on in my diagnosis. After a few appointments several providers at Pluta made me aware of the group. I met with Holly and knew that this would be a good place for me. My mom and I made it to one in-person evening seminar before Covid shut everything down. This was the perfect seminar for us to go to because that was a topic that kept coming up when trying to make decisions about surgery. Shortly after the shutdown, the Coalition started to offer their services via zoom. I signed up for gentle yoga, which really helped with my mobility, and then I participated in a workshop on managing side effects of AI medication. That workshop was a game changer for me and was extremely helpful in getting to feel more like myself. I was also in contact with a Pals mentor who was a fellow young survivor and she helped me to see that there could be life, a good life, after a cancer diagnosis. Once I was on the other side of things, I signed up to be a Pals mentor myself in hopes to give back some of what I was given.
The more I got involved in the Coalition, the more it fed my soul and gave me a greater sense of purpose and community. I reached out to Holly about joining the Advocacy Committee, she got me up to speed and I was able to join in time to attend the NBCC summit in Washington DC. After the summit I knew this was something I wanted and needed to be a part of. The Breast Cancer Coalition has been supportive, eye opening, joyful, hopeful, informative and inspiring. Helping other people, however you are able to do it, is what life is all about. Through the Coalition, I feel I can be of greater service and that brings me so much peace.