I am a wife, mother, Registered Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor and Breast Cancer Survivor.
I created this website to share my story, my passion for movement and my knowledge of supporting people going through cancer. Everyone has a story about how they have been touched by cancer. Here is mine.
When I was young my parents told my sister and I that my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I was a kid, I didn’t know what that meant. Through my entire teenage years my mom had many surgeries, countless rounds of radiation and many fights with chemo. There was a conversation somewhere in there telling us the cancer had spread to many areas of mom’s body. When I was 20 she died. Heartbroken and missing my mom I made it my adult mission to stay as healthy as I could. I would not get breast cancer.
Fast forward to 2018. I found a lump in my right breast a month or so before my 36th birthday. I hadn’t thought much of it. I had finished breast feeding my daughter a few months before and my right breast had been prone to blocked milk ducts and mastitis. Soon after my birthday I went to my doctor to have the lump checked out. It felt firm by this point, not like any of the surrounding breast tissue. My doctor suggested I have a mammogram and ultrasound because of my family history. I wasn’t surprised and I didn’t feel nervous. I had had ultrasounds to my breasts in the past and everything had come back all ok!
This time was different. After a mammogram and ultrasound the radiologist came in and said, “this looks concerning”.
What do you mean?! I’m 36!
Three biopsies of the lump were taken right then.
September 11, 2018 my doctor said the words, “I’m so sorry, you have cancer”.
Invasive ductal carcinoma. I would be having surgery within a month.
I had just gotten married to the best man I could dream of. I had a one year old daughter. We just decided to try to get pregnant again. I had done all the things we are told to keep breast cancer away: I ate very healthy, I exercised regularly, I breastfed my daughter, I never smoked, I drank only socially. I was a good person.
In October 2018 I had a single mastectomy of my right breast and sentinel node removal, with tissue expander placed under my right pectoralis muscle for reconstruction. I had asked my cancer surgeon to please remove both breasts at the same time but he refused. He had his reasons and I accepted that.
I was officially diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, ER+, PR+, HER-. My oncologist sent the cancer tissue away for Oncotype DX testing. The score came back very close to the cut off for recommending chemotherapy as treatment, but just slightly under. My oncologist suggested that the negative side effects of chemo would outweigh the benefits. My treatment would be Tamoxifen for 5-10 years.
In March of 2019 I decided to have my left, healthy, breast removed. This was for two reasons: I wanted to decrease my chances of having breast cancer again and it was hard to look in the mirror and see two completely different sides of my chest.
In September 2019 I had breast reconstruction surgery. Implants were placed under my pecs where the tissue expanders had been.
Throughout I managed to regain full body strength and full range of motion of my shoulders. I worked hard. While there are things I can no longer do well, I try to focus on the movements and exercises I can do now.
Even though I have finished with surgeries, I still have years of medication and a lot of processing and physical and mental strengthening to work through.
I hope you will follow along my journey as I move through cancer!