Illimae's Story: Finding Education and Support After an MBC Diagnosis

Illimae's Story: Finding Education and Support After an MBC Diagnosis

A lump, bad feeling, and family history of breast cancer led Illimae to a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis at 41 years old.

Illimae is a member of the Community.

Saturday, October 29, 2016, I noticed a large egg sized lump while undressing for bed. I had a bad feeling about this since my mother and her sister were both diagnosed with breast cancer in the last couple of years in their 60s. I spent Sunday Googling and while the odds were low, my lump was hard, immovable, and painless — not good. Monday I saw my PCP, he confirmed and ordered a mammogram, which was done that Friday. I was worried, at 41 — this was only my second mammogram, first was all clear 18 months ago — but my husband (who had been out of town for work) was back and a pillar of strength. Mammogram [was] followed immediately by ultrasound. They wanted me back on Tuesday for a biopsy; I'm really freaked now. Tuesday's biopsy done and my PCP tells me it's cancer on Thursday. I lose it that weekend and tell my husband he can get remarried; of course he's not hearing any of it. The next week I go to MDA and after more scans and biopises, I am [diagnosed] stage IV. I spent the first few weeks in shock: I just felt the lump, I was young, active and overweight but otherwise healthy with no known genetic mutations how could this happen?

Then I joined the Discussion Boards, found education and support. That and a treatment plan helped enormously. I am currently considered oligometastic with a single bone met and my team is treating me with local control. I completed neoadjuvant chemo a month ago, tough but doable, [and] am recovering from a lumpectomy, ALND, reduction/lift this week. Next step is SBRT to the bone location, Herceptin and Perjeta forever and, with some luck, continued good health.

Cancer may take my life someday but not my sense of humor!