Second Primary Breast Cancer… seriously, again?!?!
Invasive Breast Cancer – Take 2
“Hey honey, will you check this out?” At this point, my husband, Rick, was used to feeling my boobs. Not in a fun way, either. After going through breast cancer a year and a half ago, I was routinely asking for his opinion about various lumps. I had just finished a self-breast exam in the shower and felt a small, seed-sized mass in the lower right quadrant of my left breast. Incredibly small and hard to feel, it was just different than the normal lumps and bumps that I routinely feel in my cystic, glandular breast tissue.
“Hmmm…. yes, I feel it. How long has it been there?” Just noticing it was my answer. Regardless, he told me to go ahead and make the call after a few minutes.
Reaching out to my nurse navigator was easy. They literally answered the phone directly, and even though I had an MRI 6 months ago and a diagnostic mammogram three weeks earlier, I was scheduled for an ultrasound later that day. One of the perks of being a breast cancer survivor is that it is immediately taken seriously when you feel a lump.
At this point, breast ultrasounds were old school for me. I had been through more than 10 in the last several years and actually knew what I was looking at when the sonographer placed the transducer down. Multiple breast cysts made it difficult to find the super small cluster, but she eventually did. It was small but definitely there. As she was wrapping up the ultrasound, I had a nagging feeling in my stomach.
“You know what, can you go ahead and check this other spot at the top of my breast? I think it is just a muscular knot in my pec muscle, but it has been here for a bit.”
Seeing that lump under ultrasound, my heart skipped a beat. Normal cysts or fibroadenomas have clearly circumcised edges with fluid-filled centers. Both of these lumps under ultrasound had edges that bled outward into the surrounding tissue and were solid appearing. Bad. The radiologist came in shortly after, showed me what I already knew in imagining, and ordered biopsies on both areas.
It turns out the lump I initially came in for was benign. But, the second one, the one that I thought was a knot in my pec muscle and only had checked at the very last second as an afterthought… THAT was invasive ductal carcinoma. Breast cancer. Again.
Second Primary Breast Cancer
In sharing my journey here, I hope to answer questions, inspire other women, and most importantly share that WOMEN HAVE TO DO SELF BREAST EXAMS! Catching breast cancer early gives you the best possible chance of a positive outcome.
God puts us on specific paths for a reason, and while I am not quite sure what the reason is or what this path will involve, I feel called to share my story. The good, the bad, and the ugly, as I like to say with my online training clients. Being real, honest, and vulnerable is really tough for me. But, here goes. Below you will find my video diaries taking you through this second breast cancer journey.
Welcome to my breast cancer journey, take 2.
Second primary breast cancer – Invasive ductal carcinoma. This is my initial video sharing this second diagnosis and my initial thoughts and feelings.
Finding doctors that care about you and are excellent at their specialities is critical. I decided on a double mastectomy to remove both breasts after this second cancer diagnosis.
Please know, that breast cancer is just one small part of my life. I do not intend to let it take over my life, ruin the business I have spent 15 years creating, or draw all my attention away from my clients, family, or friends. I will be here for each of them just as I have been in the past. I am sure the balance will occasionally be challenging, but I plan to be honest when that happens. Women live and thrive with breast cancer every day. I will certainly be one of the thrivers.
I recently shared my thoughts about the power of a positive attitude with my clients, and I wanted to reiterate that. One of the most important decisions you make every day is the attitude you will have when you get out of bed. Don’t take your attitude for granted, or it will get the best of you. When faced with a difficult workout or task, you get to decide how you will face it. Will you come at the problem from a positive or negative attitude? Will you focus on the reasons that things are hard, or will you dig deep and make the decision to find that silver lining? Knowing that you have the POWER to choose is incredibly liberating!
I CHOOSE to be positive. I choose to believe that I have the strength and power not just to survive this diagnosis but to use it as a platform to help others. Have questions? I am happy to answer them.