Updated: Dec 17, 2022
Meet Rayna, Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Just Two Months After Giving Birth
Hi, my name is Rayna, and I was diagnosed with stage 2, triple negative breast cancer, just 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. I was both a new mom and was looking at a hard road ahead of me, with aggressive chemotherapy and possible radiation.
The plan was for 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 daughter's 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 effects 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 I was confident the margins would be clear. I was going to be able to go on with my life. 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 and 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 I 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.
Thank you for sharing your story, Ranya. SBC loves you.
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