Region: Midway, Utah
Cancer: Breast Cancer
"I don't know if I have one month or ten more years, so I do my best to live each day as if it might be my last."
I showed up for my yearly physical in October of 2015 with a new gynecologist. I let him know that I was due to have my annual mammogram. The doctor told me that he believes that mammograms can cause cancer. He gave me a thorough breast exam and sent me on my way. Two months later, I was showering and noticed a lump in my right breast. It seemed to appear overnight. Four months passed, and the lump hadn’t changed. I then scheduled a mammogram. At that appointment I found myself looking at a computer screen with a radiologist telling me that it was possibly highly suspicious that the lump was cancer. He urged me to see an oncologist as soon as possible and that I would need a surgeon for a biopsy of the breast. A call from the surgeon told me that the tissue was malignant and that I would need chemotherapy and radiation. He also mentioned that the margins looked clean and he felt cancer would not have spread beyond the breast. I chose to have a port placed for the chemo infusions and during that surgery also had a sentinel lymph node biopsy. Nine lymph nodes did show cancer — and those specific nodes were removed surgically at that time. A week later I showed up at the oncologist for my first chemo appointment. On that day, I was told that my scan results showed cancer in my liver, lungs, and my back. My diagnosis was now stage four and my prognosis two to ten years. I also had a brain MRI that did not show any sign of cancer.
In December of 2017, I had an MRI that showed metastasis in my brain. Six months post radiation an additional MRI showed the previous metastasis were no longer a concern; however, I had two new spots that we treated with stereotactic radiotherapy at that time. My treatment will continue to be the same until I am no longer NEAD and then a different medication will be needed. As far as the brain metastasis I will continue to have MRI scans regularly. At some point, whole brain radiation may be necessary if the stereotactic radiation therapy is no longer sufficient.
It has been three years since my stage four diagnosis. A few things have changed but mostly my outlook on living life. When I decide to do something new, I don’t hesitate. I started a blog that shares my own cancer journey. I hope that I can help others who find themselves with a terminal disease. I have only one life, and I am grateful for it. I spend time with those I love as often as possible. I don’t know if I have one month or ten more years, so I do my best to live each day as if it might be my last.