Life was pretty close to perfect...We had moved into our dream home, my kids were beautiful, and I was in the perfect job. My 35th birthday landed on the holiday of Purim, so we had friends and family over to celebrate. We were leaving in a few weeks to LA for a family bar mitzvah. My daughter was in her first season of her dance competition team. We were so happy.
One day my bra was uncomfortable but I assumed it was just getting old and the underwire might be poking me. The kids went to bed, and I went to take off my bra to get in my pajamas. My bra looked fine, so I decided to give myself a breast exam, and that's when I felt it. A lump. It was probably the size of a golf ball. How was this possible? I checked myself regularly because I had a friend at the end of her own breast cancer battle. Why hadn't I felt this the day before in my bra? Did this just pop out of nowhere? I panicked, and showed my husband. I started to cry that I did not want to die. We were leaving in 48 hours to LA. How could I go with this lump on my breast? I called my doctor the next morning and booked an appointment for when I got home. I found my lump on April 5th. My late Zeidi Mike's birthday.
The day I saw my GP she felt the lump, and sent me to a private clinic. She wasn't overly concerned and thought that it could be some scar tissue from the breast reduction I had a year earlier. I went with my daughter the next day to Charlevoix for dance, and then had the appointment with the private clinic upon my return.
Going to the private clinic, I was nervous but decided to go alone. "It CAN'T be cancer," I thought. I was in the best shape of my life. My friend was in Florida, celebrating with her family the end of her cancer treatment. I was texting with her and she told me to insist on a biopsy, even if they say that I didn't need one. I got called into my appointment and the doctor started the ultrasound. We were chatting and he stopped. He took a breath. "There's something there...." he said. Jokingly I responded, "Of course there is something there. That's why I am here!" "No...." he continued. "There's something THERE." I asked him if I was getting a biopsy. He said that he was not letting me go without one. He showed me the blood flow in my growth. I knew what blood flow meant. I went numb. I was alone in this clinic, and was about to have a biopsy on what appeared to be a cancerous lump. A nurse came to hold my hand. I cried. The doctor took two biopsies with a tool that looked like I was getting my ears pierced. I was told that they will call me in 72 hours with the results.
The next few days were hell. I didn't eat, I didn't sleep, and I couldn't function. I stayed in bed and cried. 72 hours like clockwork, I got the call. I remember him saying something about it being aggressive and fast growing. I asked him if I would live to see my kids grow up and my daughter get married. He said that the doctors would do everything in their power. My kids were 3 and 6. They were babies. My diagnosis came on April 28th. It was my husband's late Zeidi Harry's birthday.
The next few days were filled with doctors appointments and tests. I met my oncological surgeon, and my oncologist. They were confident that this will just be a blip in the road. They were confident that we can beat this monster.
Chemo started May 16, 2016. I would have 16 rounds of treatment, followed by surgery. Chemotherapy was hell for me. I had a mild reaction to my first Taxol, so the following ones had to be a slower drip. When I moved onto AC, I had an allergic reaction to it that almost took my life. I powered through the best of my ability. My kids were suffering. I would not leave them without a mother.
October 18 will be 4 years since I finished chemotherapy. My double mastectomy was 6 weeks later. Though several more surgeries would follow, we consider my date of remission to be the date of my double mastectomy.
There are days where I think back to it and it seems like a different life. I cannot believe I had cancer, and I cannot wrap my head around the fact that my babies had to experience this. I attended one cousin's wedding over ZOOM. For the other cousin's wedding my mother in law cooked for me so that I could be comfortable that the food was cooked according to my chemo rules. My best friends got married and I was in a wig and had to sit down before walking down the aisle. For years I was a volunteer medic for the Weekend to End Breast Cancer. In 2016 I was walking for myself. I HAD Breast Cancer. I cannot look at an IV drip without tasting the metallic chemo and getting nauseous in the pit of my stomach. I am tired, my body hurts ALL the time, and only in the past few months have I been able to lose some of the weight I put on. However rough my road has been, whatever the after effects may be, it doesn't matter. What matters is that...…
LONG STORY SHORT, I SURVIVED.