Never ignore the feeling in your gut
First, let me introduce myself, My name is Sandie I am 40 years old and have been living with MBC since 2017. My diagnosis came to me as a surprise - I was healthy, strong, and vibrant. I went to work all week - did the mom thing which included being a mom to a physically active teen who did competitive gymnastics and competitive dance.
The small lump under my arm
One day I noticed a small lump about the size of an Advil under my arm. I was due for a physical, so I mentioned it to my doctor. He looked at it felt it and told me it was a fatty tissue nothing to worry about. I was 35 at the time. 2 years later it had grown, it was larger and just there so I mentioned it to my doctor again. He said it was probably nothing but he will get an ultrasound on it just in case. That ultrasound had me going to see a general surgeon who at the time said we need an MRI on this.
"You have cancer"
So I'm waiting for an MRI - took about a month to get. When the results came in... they said cancer - sarcoma and then I was referred to a specialist. I was shocked cancer - sarcoma whats that - here comes Dr. Google (note stay away from Dr. Google). I was a wreck but determined I will be ok. So I meet the sarcoma specialist and he wanted to do a biopsy. I was game - we did a punch biopsy right there in that office, and then had a CT scan planned for my chest and abdomen. I went back 2 weeks later turned out it was not sarcoma but breast cancer. I was floored, even more, scared but hey my scans were clear so that was good right.
Not just cancer, metastatic breast cancer
I had a referral to a breast surgeon and my oncologist set up the next day. I met my breast surgeon and she said chemo first due to the size and a bone scan too. At this point I was scared, I was a mess - I went from having one type of rare cancer to the most common cancer women could have. I cried through that bone scan. Cried hard. Nov 10. was the day I met the oncologist Dr. Stanley Gertler....it was the WORST day of my life. I was told I had stage IV or metastatic breast cancer- it was in my bones. I was lucky though I only had one metastasis, on my spine. They called me Oligometatsatic. From that point on my left was a whirlwind a never-ending ride of chemo, and doctors' appointments, tests, and scans.
Officially no evidence of disease
I am now 40, I was diagnosed at 37 and I am considered NEAD. It took a hard fight to get here. I kick myself though because what if I fought harder when I found my lump that the doctor just said it was nothing. Why didn't I ask then? Would I be here now? It was smaller than the size of a bean. Would I have been stage 2 easier to catch and keep on??
Fighting for your health
Fight for your health don't let doctors brush off your lumps and bumps as nothing. I'm one of the lucky few that will be an outlier. That doesn't mean I don't have to go for Herceptin and Perjecta for life (I am triple positive) or regular scans to see what my body is doing. My arm will never be the same because of the location of my lump (armpit I mean who gets breast cancer of the armpit)
If I had only fought at the beginning.
Do you have an MBC mentor/mentee?