I was 28 years old when my world was turned upside down. I was also 28 when everything was falling into place. In the spring I had completed my degree and convocated from university after attending part time for several years while balancing family life. In the fall I accepted my first full time permanent position and was ecstatic. To top things off, Oct. 1st marked the 1st day of my own mortgage. I was so excited about the future and so happy with life. It all changed so suddenly in November when I found out I had breast cancer. None of it made sense. I thought I was too young for breast cancer.
I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, stage IIIb. I had a lump in my breast and the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes under my arm. I had a lumpectomy and axillary node dissection, then later, after genetic testing, had a bilateral mastectomy. I completed six rounds of chemotherapy and twenty-five rounds of radiation therapy. After a few months of healing and recovery, I began the transition back to work. I had only been back at work for two months, my hair had just started to grow back, and I was about to apply for a management position. Being back at work hadn’t been easy. I struggled with a lot of pain in my neck, shoulders, and back. My neck, though, was a particular area of concern. I went for an MRI and it revealed “something” on my spine. I was in a lot of pain on the bad days, but I didn’t think it was a recurrence. I didn’t think cancer caused that type of pain. To investigate further, I was sent for a bone scan and a CT scan. I dreaded all the testing, but knew it was the right thing to do. Then I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. It was May 2015. The breast cancer had returned to my spine, liver, and bones.