In September of 2017 I was living my best life. I was 33, a young mother of three, wife, had a successful full-time career, fast paced social life and the fittest and healthiest of my life. After a shower one morning my hand brushed past my breast and by absolute chance I felt a lump that did not feel right, in that moment my life was turned upside down. That lump turned out to be a triple negative breast tumor. With no family history and being so young this came as a huge shock to both myself and my family.
Fast forward 8 months I have now completed 6 months of heavy chemotherapy, undergone breast saving surgery, had genetic testing and about to embark on radiation. I have literally been through the hardest life has ever thrown at me, Ive had to put my everything on hold. At times I felt I’d lost my identity, my soul, my spirit, my social life, my self confidence and my ability to live spontaneously and with vitality. But through it all I have survived. I’ve beat the devil that is cancer. I had a complete pathologic response to chemo and surgery, the best possible result you can get.
I attest this result to early detection, this would not have been possible if I didn’t find the tumor when I did. It was found in its early stages before it had spread to the lymph nodes. This experience has made me stronger, given me a better perspective on life and despite all that it has taken I am grateful for the lessons it has taught me and aspire to live a fuller and more meaningful life.
My message to other young women is don’t leave it to chance, self examination once a month is so important no matter what your age. Know your risks, cancer doesn’t discriminate.
I was one of the lucky ones but I truly believe that my story would be so different had I not listened to my gut instincts and acted quickly, despite my young age and lack of family history. Talk about it with your girlfriend, sisters, daughters, mothers. Early detection saves lives.