"My name is Jessica, I am married and I have a 19-year-old son. My story begins In June 2013. When I was 38, I found out I had inflammatory breast cancer (left breast). There were also signs of cancer in my lymph nodes under my left arm. I immediately started chemotherapy the first week of July. The day I had my port put in is the same day my first chemo. The first chemo was the worst for me; I felt so sick after the first one. I couldn't even get out of bed. I was receiving chemo every 2 weeks. The more times I went, the less side effects I felt. I lost my hair about a month and a half after the initial treatment. At first it seemed like the chemo was doing its job but as time went on, the tumor was not shrinking. My doctor then decided to do radiation and chemo at the same time. I will tell you that I personally felt like radiation was worse on me, personally, than chemo was. I could hardly swallow water my throat hurt so bad. I was so weak I had to take breaks just taking a walk down the hallway. I did 28 treatments of radiation Monday through Friday. By the time I was finished I was burned pretty bad. The good news was it did its job and the tumor shrank and also detached from the skin so it was a very easy mastectomy. I was finished with the chemo and radiation in November 2013. I wanted to wait until after the new year to have the surgery. My skin healed very well from the radiation burns. I also started taking tamoxifen.
"In January 2014, I had a left mastectomy and I also did the expanders for the reconstruction surgery. The surgery went well; I had no issues. The expanders were very uncomfortable but it could've been worse. April 2014, I have a pet scan and everything's good, no signs of cancer anywhere!! In July of the same year I had the expander removed, the implant placed, and I had a reduction on the right side. Again, no issues. Everything went smoothly. In August 2014, I had my port removed and I saw my oncologist less and less. I still did my quarterly blood work and saw her. I thought everything was fine; I was in the clear and I was ready to move on with my life.
"February 2015 I go in to do my routine bloodwork And I get a call from my doctor telling me my cancer markers are high so she wants me to do a CAT scan and a bone scan. The scans show that I have a spot on my spine, lower back, and my neck: she immediately wants to start treatment. I start with the Lupron shot and another drug to push me into menopause. I have been doing the Lupron shots every month since February and then starting in September, she switched it up; I still get the Lupron shot, but I'm also taking Ibrance and Femara. I take that for 21 days and I'm off for seven days (Ibrance). My numbers have been up-and-down but not by a lot -- they go up a little they come down a little, nothing major. It's just nerve-wracking that you have to go through this every month and find out what your numbers are; you do PET scans every couple months to see what's going on. It's a scary thing, but I have great doctors, wonderful family and friends that support me, and boards like this are awesome because you get to interact with people that are going through exactly the same thing. Until this happened in February I never even knew what metastatic breast cancer was and I know that is what a lot of people say when they find out they have it.
"So that's my story, so far so good. Thank you for letting me share it."
-- jessica21122, diagnosed metastatic in February 2015