• Michelle McCune

    Survivor


    In early February of 2010, I had a bit of slight discomfort while brushing my arm up against my breast one day at work. I went into the restroom and did a self-exam and felt the lump. I called my Dr and after 2 biopsies, 1 failed office biopsy, 1 ultrasound biopsy and genetic testing I was diagnosed with brca1 and triple negative tumor, stage 2, grade 3 in April.

    Just 3 months before my 42nd birthday. 

    I must back up a bit because I feel this is very important.

    In October, the year before my diagnosis, I started hormone replacement therapy. That lump was not noticeable in myself exams before hormone therapy or ever. Mind you, I did self-breast exams like I was a crazy person (sometimes every week) because my Mom was brca1 and lost her fight at age 48 in 1998 so I'd been quite diligent for the past 12 yrs. or so up to this point.

    I do truly feel as though the hormone replacement is what made this tumor grow so fast in just a few short months being that it was a positive hormone tumor. My opinion may be right, probably wrong, but that's what my gut has always told me.

    So, I had the bilateral mastectomy in April with expanders put in and set for reconstruction. 

    While recuperating, I was tested for ovarian cancer and precancerous cells were found so a hysterectomy with staging was on the horizon. A few days after my birthday I went in to have what was left of my 'woman hood' stripped away.

    I was bombarded with doctors of all kinds. My phone book was growing with numbers of breast surgeons, gynecological surgical oncologists, plastic surgeons, oncologists etc. Then after the hysterectomy came an appt to put the port in.

    Whew!

    In September, after I was fully healed, I started chemotherapy. Chemotherapy symptoms are ugly as we on this page know all too well. The physical aspect of it drug me down spiritually and emotionally. I had to force myself to thank God every morning that I woke, even on the days that I wish I hadn't. Of course, I really didn't want to leave my teenage kids in this world without me here for them.

    I lacked energy, physical and emotional. I had pain in places I'd never imagined before.

    I just wanted to feel whole again. I wanted my energy back. I wanted my spirit back. I wanted my old life back. I wanted my breasts back. I wanted my ovaries back. Silly, I know, I didn't NEED them oh, and some hair on my head would've been fantastic too. I wanted my kids to not have to worry or stress anymore. I just wanted them happy and secure.

    Such an emotional roller coaster that this cancer puts us AND our loved ones through.

    There were times I'd go outside to scream and yell with what little energy I had because I tried not to cry around them.  

    I found that this silliness helped but then I'd have to take a nap because just to get dressed up warm enough to go yell in the snow wore me out, again, physically and emotionally.

    I wouldn't have been able to stay as strong as I did if it weren't for my 4 kids and a new man that had just came into my life at the time.

    What a way to start off a new relationship huh? 9 yrs. later, another cancer diagnosis in fall of 2015 (unrelated to breast cancer) and he's still with me. How lucky am I?

    In April of 2020 I will be 10 yrs. breast cancer free!!!

     6 beautiful grandbabies have been born since my diagnosis. My kids are happy and healthy, and life is pretty darn good. When it isn't going so great, I tell myself that it could be worse. I could be sitting in that chemo chair again. I could not be here at all and missing out on my family. Then, I remind myself that a bad day isn't what a bad day was 10 yrs. ago and I thank my Lord for that.

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