Welcome to my Young Breast Cancer Survivor Site!

I'm a young breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2005 after my first child was born. I've decided to start a blog to share my store with all the women around the world and give hope to those who are fighting with breast cancer. I first noticed a lump in my left breast in 2002 at the age of 28. My doctor at that time sent me to a well known facility in my hometown to have a mammogram and ultrasound done. After the tests were completed, the radiologists determined it was a benign tumor. A biopsy was not done and a follow up was not recommended. Today I believe the doctors didn't feel a biopsy was necessary due to my young age, but as you can see cancer is not limited to age. I finally had the lump looked at again right after my son was born because I had a hard time breast feeding on that side. I still remember like it just happened yesterday. Six days after my son was born, my ob/gyn asked my husband and I into her office. At first I didn't think anything of it since I knew the mass was benign, but the news weren't good at all. She informed us it was cancer. Tears started to run down. Our happiness turned into a nightmare. Being young and becoming a new mother, I knew I had to do everything necessary to stay alive for my son. Cancer doesn't happen to women in their 40's or 50's anymore. We as young breast cancer survivors need to speak up so all the doctors out there will perform all the tests necessary to make sure a woman is diagnosed properly. If I can share one thing with you, it is to make sure you get your doctor to perform a biopsy if you have a hard mass. Your life is depends on it!

I also started an on-line breast cancer store. I carry everything you will need for after surgery and during treatments. Please stop by!

Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Choosing the right surgery - Lumpectomy or Mastectomy

Choosing the type of surgery is a very difficult decision. At first, I was adamant about saving my breast. I didn't want a mastectomy, let alone saying that horrible word. Because I had cancer for 3 years and the cancer was invasive, my doctor recommended a mastectomy. However, since the tumor reduced in size after chemotherapy, my doctor allowed me to choose a lumpectomy. There were two things that helped me with my decision of a mastectomy. 1 - I was so sick from the chemotherapy that I didn't want to take a chance of getting cancer again. 2 - I met several breast cancer survivor that had a lumpectomy and then the cancer came back. Due to my age and wanting to have more kids, I decided to reduce my chance of re-occurrence by choosing a mastectomy. I'm very happy with my decision today. Depending on the type of cancer and stage of the cancer, it's best to discuss the best options with your doctor.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Side effects of chemotherapy...

My nurse told me I would lose my hair in two weeks. Sue enough, she was right. My hair was originally down to my back. Before I started chemo, I cut my hair twice. Once to my shoulders and then really short. Like Halle Berry short. It was a nice change. I never had really short hair so it was neat to see how I looked in short hair. When my hair started to fall out, I asked my husband to shave it all off. It was a sad experience for my husband and for myself. As her started to shave, tears just came tumbling down. I think it killed him to have to do it and to see me cry. Emotionally it was hard, but it was mentally easier on me to do that then wake up one morning and not have hair. It took me a week before I could get myself to look in the mirror. I was bald, sick, and ugly. That's how I felt. I used to be this cute, petite women and now I felt so ugly. I stayed home most of the time because I didn't want to be in public. When I did go out, I just wore hats. It was hard because I can tell people were starring at me. I had lost my eyebrows and eye lashes. And I got dark circles under my eyes. It was horrible. The worst experience was when I was shopping at the grocery store. As I stood there waiting for the clerk to ring me up, I can feel her eyes starring at me. Because of my appearance, I avoided looking at people. This lady made me feel like I was an alien or something. I just wanted to get my groceries and get the heck out of there. I know people don't understand, but do they have to be rude and stare!
On the second round of chemo, I got really sick. My head was spinning every time I woke up, I was sleeping all day and every day for 3-4 days. I consciously made myself get up so I can try to drink water and eat something. The first day or two I felt very nausous. The anti-nausous medicine didn't work most of the time. My saddest moments are when I didn't have enough strength to hold my son. he was barely a month old and my husband was raising him alone. My husband had to take 3 months off of work to take care of him and I. Then my mom took time off after my husband had to go back to work. I am so thankful for my family. When I have the strength, I would go to our living room and stare at him. That's all I can do. I would stare at him for five minutes and then go back to sleep. As I close my eyes, I try to picture my son in my head. Even though I was in the next room, I missed him dearly. My son bonded with my husband and my mom, but it took him awhile to bond with me. It would break my heart to see him wanting my husband or my mother. I felt like a stranger at times.
The side effects of AC wasn't too bad. It was the Taxotere that was the worst! My hands and feet were tingling and the skin started to peel. My eyes constantly were watering. it looked like I was crying all the time. Worse of all, my nails started to fall off. I was so freaked out about it. I tried to wrap them in bandages because I was afraid I would bang my fingers and have the nails fly off. After the second rounds of Taxotere, my doctor decided to move me to Taxol. The side effects of Taxol was nothing like Taxotere. My nails started to get better so I was lucky it didn't completely fall off. I'm sure it would have if I stayed on the Taxotere for another round.
Chemo was so tough on me. There were times I thought dying seemed like a better choice then living, bit it was my son that kept me going. I didn't want him to grow up not knowing who I am. I had so many sad moments. I was heart broken when I found out I could no longer breast feed. If you're a mother, you'll know what I mean. I was struggling with a bit of post-partum and depression. In my worst time, I prayed a lot. You know, I never blame God for the cancer. Throughout the experience, I felt it in my heart there was a reason why I'm going through it. The only prayer that I had was for God to take away the pain and suffering.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

My chemotherapy treatments...

I'm going back to share my experience now because the emotional pain and suffering I had from breast cancer has subsided. I still cry when I share tell my story, but I no longer feel like a victim to cancer.
In June 2005, I started chemotherapy. My oncologist recommended I start chemo first then have surgery. I had to undergo 8 rounds of chemo, once every two weeks. It was called dose-dense. I was on three rounds of AC, three rounds of Taxotere, then the rest on Taxol. I can still remember it like it was just yesterday. The first round of chemo wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I wasn't that sick. I was thinking I can do this. Chemo was not that bad. Boy, was I wrong. The second round hit me hard. My red blood cells were low so I was given a shot of Procrit. I normally got sick on the third day. I would go in for treatment on a Thursday, get the Procrit shot on Friday (if necessary), and then sick in bed for 3-5 days. My next round, I didn't get the Procrit shot. I still feel sick, but not as sick as the last round. When I got really sick on my next round after getting the Procrit shot, I realized the shot was making me feel worse. So, I asked the nurse about and she said I didn't need to take it if I didn't want to. Not having the shot helped out a bit.
Taxotere was the worst treatment out of the three. The side effects was pretty bad. It was so bad that my nurse decided to switch over to Taxol early. Thank God! Taxol was a lot better.

**Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions regarding treatments, side effects, etc. I'll answer what I can.