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Vivienne’s Story

10 May 2018 by Krystal Barter
Vivienne’s Story

My name Is Vivienne Lynn and at age 27 I was diagnosed with DCIS stage 0 breast cancer. I see my diagnosis as a miracle from God.

In October 2017, I woke up with a very angry and sore boob. I went to my hometown ER and after a full day of ultrasounds and tests, they said it was mastitis. They explained what it was and asked if I was a mom or had ever been pregnant (the answer is no). They prescribed some antibiotics and painkillers and sent me on my way home. Before I left, my wonderful nurse told me to get a mammogram in about a month. She mentioned that breast cancer likes to act like mastitis. She didn’t frighten me, I just figured she wanted me to keep an eye on it.

The antibiotics did their job but, I started to notice a discharge that I hadn’t ever seen before. I was getting things ready for a wedding I had in November and grabbed a strapless bra that I hadn’t used in a while and noticed some odd stains. Then, I remembered that I had seen similar stains on my white sheets earlier. Honestly, I just thought it was a bug bite or something and shrugged it off. Being cautious and remembering what the nurse said, I scheduled an appointment with my OBGYN and anxiously waited.

The thought of breast cancer crossed my mind, but not too much. I thought it could be a cyst or maybe I just needed more antibiotics. When it was finally time to see my OBGYN,  she scheduled another ultrasound. It took a few days to get those results. After anxiously calling a few times, they finally said it was dilated ducts and should resolve themselves soon.

That still didn’t sit well with me- what was all this weird discharge? Plus, I was still a little sore and that wasn’t fun. Finally, my mom told me to go see my primary care physician and see what she had to say.

She checked my ultrasound and said that it looked like resolving mastitis but said she would swab the discharge and check for an infection. I still wasn’t satisfied- what’s a girl got to do for a mammogram!? Finally she referred me to a breast specialist who saw my a few weeks later. She did another ultrasound and this time prescribed me Bactrim, a very strong antibiotic. I saw her again once I was done with the antibiotic and we still had some fluid from the nipple. She decided to do a pathology test and said if anything she’d call me back, if not we would meet up in 6 weeks.

A few days later she called me at work and said we needed to do more tests, and she was concerned with some of the cells she found. Now I was frightened because this time she mentioned the looming “C-word.”

Friday December 15th I finally got my mammogram, which confirmed the presence of cancers cells and calcifications. I’ll admit, I was pretty numb to the news and was much more worried about my mom. That day I had an MRI, a biopsy, and I met with a breast surgeon and a plastic surgeon. It was pretty much the longest day I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was told I would need a mastectomy due to the fact that half my breast was covered with cancer cells in situ but should consider a double. I took the weekend off of work and still numb, tried to swallow the Cancer pill.

After much thought and a second opinion from another trusted clinic, I decided on the single mastectomy.  The reality was, I didn’t want to lose both breasts- if the other was fine, I’d rather keep it.
On February 12th,  I said goodbye to my left breast. Now, almost 11 weeks post opp as I look back on my journey, I cannot believe what just happened. I can’t believe how long it took to finally get an answer.
I can’t even imagine how my life would have been few years down the road if I did nothing or didn’t pry for answers.
The disease had already affected half of my breast- when would I have noticed? I was committed to get an answer and find out what was happening. We must encourage women to to fight for their health. We must be persistent! I want to spread my story, so women can know what’s going on their bodies and trust their intuition when something doesn’t feel right. We must fight for our health and be in charge of our futures.

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