My Journey

My name is Pamela and at the age of 37 I knew I had breast cancer without even going to the doctors. You see, I had been fighting to get approval for mammograms and sonograms since I was 35 but because I had no family history, and was so young, they rejected my multiple requests.

Finally, after two years, I was diagnosed through bilateral sonogram. I KNEW IT! To the day of my bilateral mastectomies in 2008, my mammograms were all normal. I was that small percentage with dense breasts where mammograms would not help. I was diagnosed with left breast invasive ductal carcinoma in 2 of 3 masses with DCIS in the third. My nodes were negative. My ER/PR status were 99% each and my Her2neu was initially reported as negative, however, a year later the copy I received stated positive, and thus I missed out on an incredible drug herceptin, which might have prevented my recurrence.

As everyone can tell you, they do not have time for breast cancer in their lives. I was a single mom to two teenagers, working a full time and two part time jobs, planning my wedding and completing my Master’s Degree. This was not wanted in my overloaded schedule, yet here it was, and I had to stop as my life was now overflowing.

I underwent lumpectomy in 2002 along with chemotherapy (CMF) and 8 cycles of radiation. After completion of treatment, I did have a prophylactic oopharectomy on the left side which after pathology, proved it was cancerous. I had earlier undergone a hysterectomy at age 24 for dysfunctional uterine bleeding and had an ovary removed for necrosis.

I was diagnosed with a recurrence at 5 years and 3 weeks from my initial diagnosis. I opted for bilateral mastectomy and waited on reconstruction. I was not sure I needed, wanted or trusted my breasts anymore. Until one day at work a superior said to me, “Pamela, you look like a little girl without your breasts”! I have struggled with those words for years now because I was happy with my appearance, my choices and my survival. After that I was angry and found out that society is that unforgiving. So, I played the game and began the process of reconstruction. One year later, the expanders would be taken out and implants placed in. They were only in for 6 weeks. I had a latex allergy so they had to come out that following week.

As of 4/4/11, I am getting ready to undergo another surgery to remove this set of expanders and get my new breasts (again) on May 7, 2011.
I am a grandmother of 5 and loving life everyday with every breath.

 

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