How did you find out you had breast cancer?
“I found a lump on my breast and scheduled an appointment with my primary care doctor. She did an exam and was very concerned, so I received a mammogram and ultrasound. This was followed up by a biopsy, which confirmed that I had aggressive ductal carcinoma, that was HER2-positive, estrogen-positive and progesterone-positive, known as triple-positive breast cancer. I was diagnosed in July 2020 and had many more tests done to check another suspicious spot on the other breast.”
What has treatment looked like for you?
“By the time the tests were complete, the lump had increased in size. I started targeted chemotherapy for the HER2 in September 2020, and my rounds of that treatment lasted until September 2021. After the first harsh rounds of chemotherapy, in February 2021, I had a mastectomy of my left breast. Then, I received radiation from March through May 2021. Since then, I have had my ovaries removed and have made big changes in my lifestyle and nutrition.”
What has helped you the most during your cancer journey?
“What helped the most was my faith that God was with me, as well as learning from others who had gone through the same thing.”
Do you have any advice for those supporting a loved one with breast cancer?
“Encouragement really helps. Be supportive through the ups and downs so they don’t feel alone.”
What encouragement or advice would you give to those fighting breast cancer?
“Don’t let cancer define you. Choose to have victory over cancer. Take it one day at a time, and try to stay active if you can. I believe that being outdoors was magical in my healing process. I was able to go fall hunting and winter snowshoeing…at a snail’s pace, but that’s okay! I worked throughout all the treatments and was fortunate enough to work remotely from home.”
“Focus on the positives despite your circumstances, and view this as an opportunity to see the goodness through the pain. Cancer opened up windows for me to see the kindness and dedication of the oncology professionals I had never been exposed to before. Women from my church joined together to form a cancer support group. There is a Bible verse (Isaiah 61:3) that states how God can turn “beauty from ashes.” There are many aspects of my cancer journey that have turned into blessings, things I wouldn’t have experienced if I didn’t have cancer. This September I will be celebrating two years of remission with that bump in the road in my rear-view mirror.”