Meet Rayna

Meet Rayna

Diagnosed at 31

Hi, My name is Rayna and I was diagnosed with stage 2 ,triple negative breast cancer, 2 months after giving birth to my daughter.

I have no family history of the disease.

I do not carry the genetic mutation.

I found the lump myself, 6 weeks postpartum. After having difficulty breast feeding my daughter and having no success with the pump, my original thought was calcified milk, cancer wasn’t even a question. I received the diagnosis just before thanksgiving, here I was a new Mom and now looking at a hard road ahead of me with aggressive chemotherapy with possible radiation as well.

The plan was for the chemo first to shrink the tumor in hopes to have a lumpectomy at the end of treatment. (This is referred to as neoadjuvent chemotherapy).

I had triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma cancer, and would receive chemo once a week for 5 months.

Those 5 months, the first months of my daughters life, went by both extremely slow and incredibly fast at the same time.

Each day I watched my daughter grow more and more right before my eyes while I continuously contemplated what the cancer was doing inside my body.

I was told by my infusion nurses that I was a trooper, that I never complained, that despite the intense amount chemo that I had to go through, I never once showed signs of defeat. And they’re right, I didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of times when I was overwhelmed and scared, but never once was there a thought that I wasn’t going to overcome this. I was lucky too, aside from the hair loss side affects were minimum for me.

I rarely needed my Zofran and I had only minor symptoms compared to other woman I had read about and before I knew it my last chemo session was on April 28th, 2017.

The tumor had shrunk to almost nothing. I had a lumpectomy on May 31st and were confident the margins would be clear. I was going to be able to go on with my life.

When I received the call from my surgeon that my cancer went down to a stage zero, but the margins were not clean and speckled with cancerous cells throughout.

We decided on a mastectomy, after all the intense chemo, all that we did to try to save my breast, I lost it anyway. 2 weeks later I had a unilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.
I had one drain in for a week, and couldn’t lift my daughter for 3 weeks.

My hair was growing back though and after my implant exchange which happened in August of 2017 I was finally starting to feel like myself again.. sort of.

I never got my period back after giving birth to my daughter and here we are 2 years later and I’ve only had some light spotting.

I had blood work done and I’m most likely in early menopause.

But that’s okay. My daughter is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and if I can’t have another child I’m okay with that.

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the course of both my pregnancy and my cancer battle and even though things didn’t just go back to “normal” for me, I'm okay with that.