My name is Carrie and I was diagnosed with a Stage II, grade 4 breast cancer on April 16, 2001 at the age of 24. I found a lump in my right breast a week before Easter. I went to see my doctor right away. My family has a severe history of cancer. I lost my mother when I was 15 to ovarian and she had lost her sister to breast cancer, other sister to leukemia, son and a niece to a brain tumor, father to liver cancer and her mother to ovarian. My doctor sent me for a mammogram right away.
I had my mammogram the following Monday and late that afternoon, my doctor called me and wanted to see me right away. When I got to her office she told me the results of my test weren’t good and the radiologist stated that it was highly suggestive of malignancy. I was then sent to my surgeon to schedule the removal of the tumor. He discussed all options with me and we decided that we would have a pathologist present at the time of the surgery. On April 16, 2001, I had my breast biopsies done and when I awoke from surgery, my life was forever changed.
My mastectomy was scheduled for April 27, 2001. On the night of the 18th, my surgeon called me at 11pm. He told me the results of my path report. My cancer was far to aggressive to wait until the 27th for surgery. On April 20, 2001, I had a double radical mastectomy. I opted to take the left breast as well even though there was no cancer in it. My chances of a recurrence were quite high. I was very strongly HER2/NEU positive.
One week after my surgery, I became very ill. My drain had become plugged and caused a staph infection. I had to spend another 5 days in the hospital. Soon after that, I went to see my oncologist. We decided that I would take chemotherapy. I was going to have 4 treatments of Adriamycin and Cytoxan and then 52 treatments of Herceptin. I am currently doing very well and am starting the reconstruction phase. I still have 37 treatments of Herceptin left.
This diagnosis has changed my life forever as well as my children’s. I will never forget what I have gone through and what other women go through with this. I thoroughly believe that everything happens to us for a reason. I believe that it has happened to me so I can help others through my experience.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
Thanks so much!