I discovered a lump on my own on June 20, 2018. My self exam was prompted after many phone calls with my sister in law, whose older sister had been diagnosed with Infultrating Ductal Carcinoma on June 16th. Her frightening discovery made me think that it had been a few months since my own self exam, where I found my lump.
On the morning of July 2nd, I received the phone call from my doctor, it was confirmed Stage 1 Infultrating Ductal Carcinoma, which was both hormone receptor and HER2 +. I was devastated. How could I be facing breast cancer at 37 years old, with two sweet little boys to raise and a bright future ahead of our family? Thankfully, the MRI showed no cancer in my lymph nodes, and that the tumors were contained to the bottom left quadrant of my left breast. My genetic testing also came back clean. I then received my treatment plan from the medical oncologist: 6 rounds of TCH+P chemotherapy every 21 days.
I spent a lot of time struggling with the thought of loosing my hair, when my research found
“cold cap” therapy. Friday, August 3rd was my first chemotherapy treatment. My husband perfected the capping process, and changed them every 30 minutes to keep my hair follicles frozen during my infusion. It was awfully painful, and freezing cold, but I would try anything to save my hair.
All of the doctors in my oncologist office were fascinated by the cold cap system. They had a couple of patients that had tried it before, but all failed because they could not stand the process and the pain. But to me it was 100% worth it. I worked through my battle with cancer, and those close to me knew what I was going through, but no one else could really tell that I had cancer. Because I had my hair! I can’t say that I did not loose any hair, because I did. During Round 3 I did not have the cap strapped tight enough to the top of my head, so I ended up with a big bald spot. I was terrified as my hair fell out in my hands, but it was only a portion of it, and the rest remained in tact. Round after round, the doctors would check on me, inspect my progress, and watch in awe as I rallied through the chemo with a cold cap on my head. It was not easy, but God held me, and the prayers from our family and friends were so powerful. I could feel the energy and it helped me through it. It was incredible, almost miraculous.
As July 2, 2019 arrived I sat back to reflect on the year that went by. A whole year of my life, basically stolen from me. Between the sickness, the memory loss, and the pain my body went through, I will NEVER be the same. I still can not believe I actually experienced and beat cancer. It is horrifying. But I am so thankful to God for my strength, to my family for their support, and to my friends for their prayers. Every day is a gift, and I am thankful. I pray that each cancer survivor that I meet feels the same. And I pray, that one person at a time, I can help them keep their dignity during their battle – “because some warriors have hair”.