My diagnosis of TNBC was in 2010. I was 33 years old and just finished breastfeeding my third daughter. I thought my lump was a plugged milk duct. By the time of biopsy, is was stage IIC, IDC, ER-/PR-/HER2-, grade 3. Having no idea what these meant except aggressive, I started doing tons of research. Breastcancer.org was a great site to help me understand what was going on. I ended up doing chemo first (AC+Taxol), then a bilateral mastectomy with sentinel node biopsy. Turns out 1/6 was positive, so added an axillary lymph node dissection and removed another 5. Then was told I needed radiation. So got implants placed in my skin sparing BMX and started rads. Tumor grew back in a local recurrence while receiving radiation, so, lumpectomy and more radiation. But now tumor is HER2+. Start Herceptin and get a migraine. Brain MRI shows brain metastasis 2cm tumor!! Dang! Surgery to remove, followed by whole brain radiation.
I wanted to be as throrough as possible. My babies were 9, 4, and 2. I wanted to be around for as much time as possible. And, would you believe it, my scans started coming back clear! No more growth, everything stable! Stopped Herceptin and did reconstruction! 4 years with no evidence of disease. It was truly a blessing to have that time.
Unfortunately, in 2015, a tumor popped up deep in my chest wall: no surgery available. Chemo didn't hit it. Brain MRI: 34 brain metastastic lesions. Did gamma knife. Tumors grew and new one came on, did another gamma knife and currently waiting on results. Started new chemo, which hopefully will control things and hoping to get started in a clinical trial.
This disease really makes you look at your life and how you want to live it and be thought of or remembered for. It makes me appreciate the many blessings I have and helped me stay positive in my continued fight.
I think Breastcancer.org and the discussion boards are so helpful for so many people. I'm so glad I found this site!
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.
-- Survivor2Be, diagnosed triple negative in 2010