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Home > Understanding Breast Cancer > Support > Stories of Inspiration > Candie Cook


Candie Cook

Candie Cook 

Treatment: Chemotherapy, Mastectomy

At 39, I found a lump in my breast while doing a self-breast exam. I never expected what kind of roller coaster ride this lump was going to take me on. It all started with a simple trip to the doctor in August of 2010 to have this 'bump' I found in my breast checked out. My doctor said there was a chance the bump was nothing, but she wanted me to have a mammogram done anyway. I agreed.

A few days later when I was walking into the hospital where I work as a nurse, I ran into my doctor. I told her that I couldn’t feel the lump anymore, and I asked if I still needed to have the testing. She said to still go and have a mammogram. My doctor stated that she’d rather have me safe and not sorry. After I told my mother about having a mammogram, my mother called my doctor, or what I like to call her, the angel that my life. Needless to say, I had the mammogram done.

Thirty minutes after the mammogram was finished, the nurse informed me that I needed a sonogram. Then, ten minutes after my sonogram was completed, the nurse informed me a biopsy was needed. The biopsy was done approximately twenty minutes later.

Wow, it was a roller coaster already. I tried to resume life as usual the following 2 days after my appointment until I received a call telling me had breast cancer. “Wow,” I thought to myself, "I had cancer." I couldn’t wrap my brain around that sentence in my head. I had cancer! Within 3 weeks I was in the O.R. having a mastectomy, and the roller coaster had just begun!

I was informed I would need chemotherapy, and I would lose my hair within 18 days of my first treatment. Chemo was torturous, the fatigue, the days lost, and the pain on some days was unbearable. Family, friends and especially your children, are your lifeline during your fight with breast cancer. They are your support, your will, and your reason to keep on fighting. It’s been 7 months since my mastectomy and 4 months since the end of chemo. And unfortunately, I have tested positive for the BRCA1 mutation.

Just a few days ago had a prophylactic total hysterectomy, and I am scheduled for another mastectomy and double reconstruction surgery coming up soon. The roller coaster!! Some days I look back and think, "Well maybe it wasn’t all that bad. I have made it.” Then there are days I look back and think, "Oh my gosh, how did I do this, how did I make it through all this?" But no matter what I think, the truth is I MADE IT! I plan on getting off this roller coaster real soon, and then I’m going to just walk through the park and JUST BREATHE!