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I never thought that it would be me telling a story about the impact cancer has had on my life. In June of 2017, I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductile Carcinoma that was HER2 and Estrogen positive. During my morning routine, I felt a lump in my left breast. I thought, at first, it would go away, but a couple of days later it was still there! After contacting my primary care doctor, she advised me to have a mammogram done. Even though my mammogram was not due for another three months, I listened and had it done. How glad I am that I did! Hesitating or waiting until August could have brought about a different outcome!
Because the type of cancer I was diagnosed with was aggressive, I immediately underwent six rounds of chemo (one 5 hour session every 3 weeks) that seemed to last forever, a double mastectomy, one year of Herceptin (another form of chemo to kill the HER2 protein), reconstruction surgery and unilateral salpingo - oophorectomy. After my first round of chemo (TCHP), I became very ill, at which point I felt close to death. I had what some say is rare, Neutropenia, which is an abnormally low count of a specific white blood cells, which are called neutrophils. In my case, they were below zero! I had pneumonia and a stomach virus that my body could not fight off, which sent me in a downward spiral and landed me in the hospital for over a week.
During this time, I had a nervous breakdown, a headache that felt as if my head would explode, and hair loss. It was horrible! The day I came home, my very close and dear friend, Tosha Miller, planned a hair cutting party for me that changed my life with cancer! Some of my closest friends and I toasted to the theme, “NO HAIR, DON’T CARE, I’M BEAUTIFUL”! She was able to get a beautiful hairdresser, Tiffany Washington, to close down her shop, cut my hair and treat my scalp, while she set up a backdrop for my photo shoot, recorded and took pictures of the whole thing! I will always have wonderful memories of this time to look back on and smile in my heart!
It is so important for friends and loved ones to support those who are going through cancer, because cancer isolates you. We gain strength from God, our Faith, Hope and those who surrounds us will love and support! Today, I am FREE FROM CANCER! I am ALIVE, I have a work to do! I may have some scars, but I am healed, and I am GRATEFUL EVERYDAY!