Triple Negative Diagnosis Story
September 2011 started off as normal as any other year except for a couple of things. Number one, we moved to a new city and everything was strangely beautiful. Number two, I had a dream that would change my life forever.
In this dream, my left breast jumped off my chest and sat across from me, pointed a finger at me, and began to laugh hysterically. It asked the question, ”was he blind, or did he just hate women?” It then said, "you have to get me cut off or you're going to die.”
I woke up in a cold sweat, the dream was so real until it had me shaken to the core. However, I didn't tell my husband about it until I had no choice.
Finding a lump
The no-choice piece came sooner than I was comfortable with. Two months later, I was taking a shower and I felt a huge lump in my left breast. The moment I felt it I knew. As I felt this betrayal in my left breast, I cried just as hard as the water was running over my now limp chilled body.
I dried my tears, got out of the shower and didn't utter a word of this to anyone for two months. The day when my silence had to be shouted from the rooftops, was when the pain became so unbearable until I could barely move my arm.
Sharing my symptoms
My husband and I were getting ready to run some errands, I placed his hand on my left breast and I asked him if he felt anything. As his eyes watered, his breathing became shallow, he held me and whispered, "how long has this been here? Whatever it is we’re going to get through this.” He rested his dew-like face in the center of my neck and held me for what seemed like forever.
One moment we were standing in the middle of the floor holding one another, the next moment we had sprung into action, in search of unwanted answers.
Our journey was anything but swift, we saw six doctors across the city and all said that I just had a lumpy breast, come back in six months. My heart shattered inside because I knew differently.
The fifth doctor gave me a card and told me to go to the sixth doctor. When I arrived at the sixth doctor's office, she felt the lump and replied, "this needs to be cut off". She referred me to a surgeon and the journey began.
Knowing your own body
I met with the surgeon and he said that he would drain the lump and that I wouldn't have anything to worry about. He did as promised and the lump was back the next day, three times as large.
I told him that I wanted it removed because I knew that it was cancer. He looked at me and chuckled, saying that all of the test results were negative and that the pathology report was even negative, so I was so very wrong. He further stated that he just didn't do elective surgery just because someone wanted it.
I stated again that it wasn't elective, that it was extremely necessary. I told him that God told me that it was cancer. He began to laugh and said in a very sarcastic tone, ”So God talks to you?” I replied, "yes and he says that you're going to have a son." He really began to laugh at that point. I then said you're laughing because you've had a vasectomy. He stopped laughing and asked when did I want the surgery. I told him that his only availability was the following Friday at 11:00 AM. He checked with his head administrator and she confirmed the date and the time that I had spoken.
The following week I was in an operating room getting a lumpectomy. A couple of weeks later, I was back in the surgeon's office but this time was different. All of the other times that I had gone I was given a white gown however, this time they only had pink. When I brought this to the nurse's attention she searched frantically to find a white gown but there was none to be found.
Moments later the surgeon was in the room beating around the bush and finally, he informed me that the cancer was hiding behind the lump and that the reason the tumor kept filling up was that it was attached to a blood vessel. He also informed me that I had triple-negative breast cancer, stage 3C.
He gave my husband and I a moment to digest what we had known for months and then the real journey began. Our lives changed forever that day.
My path after my diagnosis
The days and months to follow were filled with a single mastectomy, fifteen months later. I had to have my right breast removed and then the kiss of death called chemotherapy. Once I thought that I was on the road to recovery, I found out that there was more cancer and enough ongoing test to drive a sane person crazy.
However, I didn't take my "new normal" lying down, I wanted to bring awareness and I wanted to bring it in an eye-opening way. So I dried my tears, took deep breaths and I did a photoshoot. I then became the only person in history to grace the cover of a magazine and bare their severed breast and horrific scars on the cover of a magazine. I didn't stop there, I became the only person to have a complete line of greeting cards for cancer patients. I kept going, I wrote two books, the first one,
"Maxine Devereaux - My Last Breast" became an Amazon Bestseller within the first six hours of launching, the second one was a fifty tip book on how to really help cancer patients.
Now, every day is a struggle, I'm in pain 24/7 but I keep going, I keep moving, I keep trying to make a difference. I just started a Nonprofit Organization called Project Breast Control.
Who am I? My name is Max Devereaux and I endeavor to reach the world one breast at a time through awareness and entertainment.
Caregivers: Do you practice self-care?