Updated: Dec 17, 2022
Hi, my name is Susan.
I’m a breast cancer survivor. I’m a warrior, a fighter, and a strong woman.
This is my story.
I was initially diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). A small cluster was found during my annual mammogram. I was 44 years old.
Waiting for that phone call, that several people assured me would be negative, was in fact DCIS. I made an immediate appointment to meet my breast surgeon. This gracious doctor held my hand during 2 lumpectomies, a seroma, and making the decision to have a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.
On September 11, 2018, I had my surgery. I said goodbye to my old breasts and was ready to battle! I woke up from surgery to be told that my sentinel lymph nodes were cancerous. All my lymph nodes on my right side were removed. Further testing was required and that I was going to have to have further treatment.
My initial thought was, I am so glad that I got a bilateral mastectomy. On September 17, I was told that 2 tumors were found in my right breast tissue, and that they were riddled with DCIS as well. I had 3 tumors in my lymph nodes. Thankfully my left breast tissue was clear. I have zero regrets about this decision. My life is more important to me.
Stage 2a Invasive Ductal Carcinoma was my diagnosis. ER+, PR+ HER2-. I chose to be aggressive with my treatment. I compiled a team of doctors to guide me through. I had 4 rounds of AC (red devil), 12 rounds of Taxol and then 25 rounds of radiation. Chemo was physically draining. Radiation was emotionally exhausting. I’m pretty sure I cried for 2 weeks straight.
Through all of this though, from the moment of diagnosis, my husband was by my side, and my best friends, Janet and Jen, guided me through this. And my community, Beverly, MA, just amazing. People came out to support us without a second thought. We were showered with love, food, baskets of goodies, friendship, and so much more. They’re all part of my tribe.
When faced with breast cancer, it’s so scary. Find your tribe. Your people, who will be there no matter what, because you’re going to need help. Let people help you. I couldn’t have made it through this without the support of my tribe.
Thank you for sharing your story, Susan. SBC loves you!