By Jennifer Reynolds
Read Jennifer’s original diagnosis and treatment story: Hard Days, Better Days, and My Fight
After I was diagnosed with stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), I completed chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. My treatment then continued with radiation. After radiation in 2021 and right before Christmas... I was finally done! I had 33 sessions of radiation. It was brutal during the last week. Otherwise, it was just tedious and tiring everyday to go there and do that. It wiped me, but it was doable.
At the end of radiation, my skin started opening up after being burned. It was right on my incision scar of my cancer side and also in my axilla area. It was so very painful and I remember Christmas being very difficult, but I put on a strong and brave face as best I could.
Life has been busy. I do love staying busy, as it helps me to help others. I am a lactation nurse – so I know breasts, but in a very different way! Helping moms and babies succeed in the postpartum period is so wonderful. This past year, I have been working a lot, as I have three jobs. I work as a lactation consultant at a hospital, at a pediatric office and as an independent business.
Through all my treatments, I worked when I could. I am currently taking Lynparza, a PARP inhibitor. This October will mark two years of me taking Lynparza, and then I will be done. Yay! For me, it causes fatigue and diarrhea. I can only tolerate two of the four pills recommended, but I take them.
As for the other medications I’ve been on, I have struggled a bit in this area. Aromatase inhibitors cause lots of side effects. I dislike them! I have tried almost all of them. I am now about to try exemestane and hope it is okay and easier on me than tamoxifen, letrozole and Arimidex. My doctors advised five to 10 years MORE on these.
I am quite busy but still make time for family, fun and exercise. I love spin, pilates and yoga. I am also trying to keep the garden going and I love it, but my first son Tyler has done most of the work. I also am a breast cancer mentor at my facility here in Long Beach, California. I just love helping others.
Life is crazy, right? I have ups and downs, and a lot of emotions at times. Forced menopause sucks, and so does cancer! BUT I do hope to be done for GOOD and am pushing forward to continue being cancer free two years later! Life is good and I do appreciate everything SO much more. That is expected I suppose from my perspective.
Thank you for reading!
Thank you for sharing your story, Jennifer. SBC loves you!
On the Podcast: Breast Cancer Conversations
Radiation Therapy: What Every Breast Cancer Thriver Needs to Know