"Hi, my name is Stacey. I'm 34 years old. I was diagnosed with HER2+, ER-, PR- breast cancer on December 14, 2012. I had found my lump while breastfeeding. Originally I had thought the lump was a milk duct. The milk surrounding the lump made it very difficult to detect. After not seeing any sort of mastitis I went to my OBGYN to check it out.
"From that moment on there was a battery of tests that were done, mammogram and ultrasound followed by a biopsy the following week. Breast MRI, brain MRI, and PET scans were next. On December 14, 2012 my life was forever changed. My oncologist decided chemotherapy would be the first step in treatment because the mass was 2.5 cm and I had one lymph node that came back as a high grade metastatic cancer. Also, my PET scan showed a 4 mm spot on my right lung.
"My chemotherapy involved Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin, and Perjeta for 6 cycles. After the 6 cycles I continued on with targeted therapy every 21 days with Herceptin and Perjeta. The next step in treatment was a right mastectomy and sentinel node testing on June 13, 2013. My prayers were answered when the pathology came back clear. My breast surgeon was directed to remove 5 lymph nodes as a result of the sentinel node testing. Due to the original known lymph node involvement at diagnosis, my oncologist and radiologist/oncologist made the decision to proceed with 5 weeks of daily radiation treatment.
"On December 20, 2013 my plastic surgeon performed a delayed left mastectomy and breast reconstruction to left and right with placement of tissue expanders. The right side needed the latissimus flap procedure for reconstruction due to the after effects of radiation. Recently, on May 1, 2014, I went under another procedure to have the tissue expanders removed and silicone high profile implants placed.
"Today I feel pretty good, I am trying to find my new normal... I am still weak from all of the treatment but hope to continue to gain strength. I wear a compression sleeve on the right arm when I work due to signs of lymphedema. My daily diarrhea has finally gone away and normal BMs have returned. Neuropathy/numbness in my hands is still there. BUT no evidence of disease, and that is all that matters to me!!!
"Since diagnosis I have good days and bad, pretty nervous but I am fighting with everything I have. My dark days are the uncertainty that comes with this diagnosis. My prayer is to be around for my 2-year-old son Austin and dear husband Tim.
"I have just been amazed and humbled by reading a lot of the discussion boards. I will never be able to thank all of you survivors and angels that have helped and continue to bring me strength and courage during my journey. I will forever be changed by this disease but I will continue to fight with every breath I have. I pray for the day of a cure.
"Sending healing thoughts and prayers to you all!"
--StaceyLeeH (Stacey), diagnosed at age 32