Breast Cancer has been a part of my life since the day I was born. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about at the age of 28. She went into remission, and then was diagnosed a second time and lost her life to the disease at the age of 31. I was 5 years old when my mother died. As a young woman myself, I found a lump in my breast on a self-exam, and in 2005, I was diagnosed with stage 1 triple negative breast cancer at the age of 31. I went through treatment in New York while I was away from my friends and family doing travel nursing. The treatment I chose for myself at that time was a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. I could not fathom altering my body with a mastectomy at that stage of my life.
After treatment I didn’t feel as if I regained my energy or my health. I decided to move home to the NW to be closer to my friends and family and to work on improving my health. To my surprise I was diagnosed a second time in 2011; again it was stage 1 triple negative cancer in the same area of the breast as in 2005. I underwent a nipple-sparing mastectomy with reconstruction. After my pathology came back, I was also diagnosed with progesterone and estrogen positive stage zero cancer. That tumor was not picked up by a breast MRI, mammogram, or a breast ultrasound. My cancer treatment was largely the same as my mother’s was in 1979. Very few advances have been made in triple negative breast cancer.
Going through cancer treatment twice has affected my ability to have children. Dealing with this disease for nine years has been trying to say the least. It will never leave my mind; it will always be there. I believe that triple negative breast cancer has been largely ignored by the drug companies with regard to research. Triple negative cancer needs a voice, and I am here to shout loud and clear!