Written by Susie Hynds
I was experiencing pain on my right side of my breast, and went to the doctor. They initially thought I had an infection. You couldn’t feel a lump, and I had no other symptoms.
I then had a mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy that showed cancer, I was given a diagnosis of stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma.
I was 39 years old with 2 kids at home. I was diagnosed 2 days before my younger son turned 2, my older son was 4 ½.
I was devastated, to say the least, that I had cancer. My whole world was turned upside down. I didn’t think I would live to see my boys grow up. I didn’t want to die.
I was treated at Dana Faber in Boston, I had 5 ½ month of chemotherapy which started in August of 2012. Then a double mastectomy, 36 rounds of radiation, my tubes and ovaries removed, and then the process for reconstructive surgery.
There is a program at Dana Faber called "The Young and Strong" program. I was matched with a mentor, Carie, who helped me with so many questions and feelings. She is one of the strongest women I know. She would sit on the phone with me and listen to me cry and help me get through my fears. We are forever connected, and are still friends.
For me, the hardest part was the fatigue from treatment. I had 2 young boys at home and I wanted to spend as much time with them that I could. My husband worked at night so I would try and rest during the day so night time was our time together, reading books and watching TV snuggled up on the couch.
My support system was amazing. My sister Jamie took over. She came to every Dr. appointment with me and my husband so she could listen to what they were saying and help us process all the information. She set up a website to help communicate with friends and other family members. She organized meals that people made and fed my family for months so I didn’t have to worry what was for dinner. She cared for my boys when I couldn’t, and took care of me. She drove me to chemo and sat with me almost every time. When I had surgery and couldn’t take care of the kids, they went to her house for a week. She is the true hero in my book! My husband and I are forever grateful and lucky to have her. Our other friends and family made meals and visited with us, and kept us strong. We knew we were never alone.
My message to you is, get checked, check yourself, don’t wait! You're not alone in this.
Ask for help when going through treatment. It is so hard, but you can’t do it alone.