I am 33 years old and have no history of breast cancer in my family. When I missed a period, I decided I should see a doctor since I take the pill and didn't think I could be pregnant. The doctor found a lump on my nipple, and told me to cut out caffeine and check back in a couple of months.I didn't like that response, so I went to another doctor for a second opinion. I was sent for a mammogram and an ultrasound, which revealed a two-centimeter lump on my nipple and a bunch of micro-calcifications throughout the breast.
After two biopsies, I was diagnosed with stage II cancer. I had a mastectomy with reconstruction on my right breast, and removal of lymph nodes. To my delight, the lymph nodes were clear; they had removed the cancer. I had chemotherapy treatments for six months. On September 9, I had a final surgery to remove the expander and put in the implant to lift my breast to match the other one.
Currently, I am taking Tamoxifen and will need to do this for five years. My identical twin sister has been checked for breast cancer and is all clear. However, we are looking into testing for the BRCA genes associated with hereditary breast cancer.
I have been cancer-free for more than a year now. Had I not missed my period, and had I not gone for a second opinion, it could have been worse. I was lucky to catch it early before it could spread to my lymph nodes. I feel like the luckiest girl alive!
Sandra M. Mitchell