In August 2015, I was having pain in the lower, outer quadrant of my right breast. I went for my mammogram in early September, but the machine couldn't see anything, even though a lump was easily palpable. An ultrasound found not one, but two lumps. One was IDC, the other was DCIS. I had enough time between my biopsies and my first oncology appointment to do some research. At my appointment, the oncologist gave me some information that I knew was incorrect for triple negative. I asked how many cases of TN he sees per year: 5 (I live in a town of 20,000). I already had a second opinion appointment at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for a week later. I was much more reassured by the team of doctors and nurses that I met there.
I had surgery first, in December of 2015, and am still making my way through chemo. I have a pre-existing auto immune condition, which my oncologist says may have allowed the cancer to grow. Because of that, my white counts run low to begin with, so chemo is taking longer for me, and I am taking bone marrow stimulant injections, even with Taxol.
While my surgeon got clear margins, they are very narrow. Therefore, I will be having a re-excision in August for wider margins, before beginning rads in September.
My message to all women out there is to do your own breast self exams, don't trust the machine. And breast cancer lumps can be painful -- that's how I found mine.
I haven't let treatments keep me from doing the things I love, like hiking with my husband and dog, and nature photography.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent those of Breastcancer.org nor are they intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians.
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