Community Member Spotlight: Jessica Carroll
Our Advancedbreastcancer.net community is continuing to highlight our community members living with metastatic breast cancer. In this interview, we spoke with Jessica Carroll who was diagnosed with de novo stage IV just this past year. Her biggest advice after your diagnosis, try not to google too much!
How & when were you diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer?
I was diagnosed in March of 2020. It all started in December of 2019, I felt a lump in my left breast, and 2 days later, I suddenly had intense back pain. I had a mammogram & ultrasound in January 2020, and the doctor and radiologist said it wasn't cancer.
My back pain got worse, and started physical therapy. It was the rehabilitation doctor that then ordered an MRI and saw the tumor. I was diagnosed in the hospital because I was getting further scans after that, and my vertebrae were broken, and I couldn't walk for a short period of time. I did the biopsy in the hospital.
What type of breast cancer do you have? Was it recurrence or de novo?
De novo stage IV breast cancer.
What information/support was most helpful for you when you were newly diagnosed?
Positive stories, individuals outliving their expected time. I had to stay away from google searches and groups for quite some time, as hearing the negative aspects of this disease made my mental health worse. I worked as a registered nurse before my diagnosis, so I already knew too much.
What's your favorite part about AdvancedBreastCancer.net? How has online support helped you?
I love the interactive questions. It gives you a voice and also lets you see how others answer. You may find a friend to connect with.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer?
- As hard as it is, I would not "google" too much about it. It can become a dark overwhelming hole of information and statistics.
- If you don't have a good connection or feeling about your oncologist, find a new one! I had to, and very happy I did.
- Lastly, ask your doctor about extra services they provide like, massage, acupuncture, social worker, etc. I found those to be very beneficial.
Have you ever changed your treatment regimen because you were experiencing side effects?