I felt a lump in my breast when I was on my honeymoon with my wife in Thailand. I would have never felt it, but there was an itch over my nipple that I just couldn’t seem to scratch. It felt like it was on the inside of my body. I felt the lump when I was trying to itch it. I let it go and chalked it up to a duct or whatever…. I was 32 years old. Fast forward 2 months when I felt that itch again and the lump seemed bigger. I went in the next day to have it checked out. It was May 1st, I was barely 33.
They sent me straight in for a mammogram and ultrasound. The Radiologist came in after my ultrasound and basically told me there was no way it was NOT breast cancer. I remember it being really dark and really eerie. Time seemed to freeze at that moment. I felt completely numb. I wasn’t sure if what was happening was real.
I have no family history, I am young, SUPER active, eat clean, breastfed my children… I did all the ‘right things’.
They sent me for a biopsy later that week. The waiting was the worst. 5 days later they called and confirmed. Stage 2 HER2 positive Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.
Cue the googling… Prognosis seemed to be the worst with this diagnosis and a young age. Doesn’t make a lot of sense but basically if you are young, your cancer is more aggressive.
I immediately saw a surgeon and an oncologist. My port was placed 2 weeks later in my chest and chemotherapy started the following week. I had 6 rounds of tamoxifen, carboplatin, herceptin, perjeta. Each round got worse. I lost my hair, my lashes, my brows. I got blisters and boils all over my body, in my mouth and nose. I lost feeling in my fingers and toes. I couldn’t eat, or drink for that matter. The nausea was horrible, the steroids the worst. FATIGUE! Diarrhoea, Night sweats, insomnia. The list goes on (you’ll find info on each round on my IG)
I continued to teach and workout throughout all of it. I just took a week off after each round. 20 days after my final round I had a double mastectomy with expanders placed. I am now 12 days post op and my chest is black and blue. I will have these expanders in for 5 months until my exchange for implants. Meanwhile, I have another 11 rounds of herceptin every 3 weeks. The good news is, the side effects of this are just stomach upset and fatigue. I can handle that!
I had made a decision to be very public about this from the beginning. We all walk around like nothing is going to happen to us and then BAM, your life is forever changed. My life stopped. Everyone else’s marched on. It's all so weird. I kept thinking, my whole job is to inspire people and help them in hard times… why couldn’t I still do that? For my 6th round of chemo I asked people to dance. Spread some joy and get weird. Nobody gets mad when they are dancing and it literally lifts all spirits. The response was HUGE. I had videos on IG coming in from all around the states and the world. Music videos, people laughing, dancing, letting go. I realized that anyone can make an impact and what happened that day will hold a huge space in my heart forever. For ONE day, people felt so much joy, and they got to give, and feel good. I still get joy thinking about it.
Also, I just found out a week ago that I am CANCER FREE. Cannot stop sobbing.