Stage I to Stage IV

In 2010 I was diagnosed with high-grade DCIS in my left breast. I was successfully treated with a lumpectomy and radiation. I did not take the tamoxifen that was suggested because of extreme hot flashes. It was felt I was cured, and my life went on, and the thought of breast cancer was a distant memory until nine years later.

2019, the year I almost skipped my mammogram

In December 2019, I went to my GYN for my yearly exam and mammogram. I almost didn’t go that year thinking, “why am I doing this every year when everything is fine.” She felt a “thickening” in my right breast, so ordered a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. The biopsy showed invasive lobular cancer. When I got the call, I thought she said globular cancer, so I looked it up. I read somewhere that lobular cancer is the second most common breast cancer that nobody has ever heard of. A genetic test showed I have a CHECK2 variant which predisposes me to breast cancer.

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A rapid progression

So the next phase of breast cancer began. The lumpectomy showed I was Stage 1c, grade 3. No lymph nodes involved. My lobular was pleomorphic with signet ring cells, ER+, PR-, Her2-. My Oncotype was 30 so that indicated I needed chemo. Despite the emergence of Covid, I breezed through the chemo and radiation. Started on Arimidex, my hair grew back and with a minimum of side effects moved on with life.

The pain that brought stage IV to light

At sixteen months post-surgery, I reported having burning back pain to my oncologist. We attributed it to packing boxes for our move. No scans were ordered. After all, I was stage 1 and we were in the middle of moving. Three months later, I was in so much pain that I ended up in the ER. A CT scan showed extensive bone mets. We were stunned. I was yelling, “this is not supposed to happen. I was stage 1.” My husband was crying. The ER doctor was saying she was so sorry.


I am now eight months past that horrible day. My bone pain is mostly gone and my scans continue to improve. My bones are getting stronger thanks to Xgeva. I am on Verzenio and Faslodex. I have learned to live with stage IV breast cancer and I am at peace with whatever the future holds. I have a loving and supportive husband, strong support from friends and family, an excellent doctor, and good medical insurance. What more could I ask for? I feel I am one of the lucky ones.

This is my story.

Help others feel a little less alone.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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