October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. An unexpected journey happened one year ago. I’m in my late 30’s. My doctor felt a lump when I went for my annual checkup. I had testing done in October 2017 and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2017. Luckily, it was caught early. I had a lumpectomy in December and had six and a half weeks of radiation and now I’m on Tamoxifen for five years to decrease the chances of the cancer spreading and reoccurring. Everything is going well.

It was a scary journey and an emotional roller coaster, but I got through it. I still feel fatigued from the radiation treatment but it’s becoming less and less over time. I heard the fatigue can last up to a year after treatment. The worst part of the journey was waiting to find out what stage I was (stage one) and to wait to find out if the cancer was genetic, which it wasn’t.

The best part is the doctors are very nice and knowledgeable. I’m very lucky to have found these doctors who were highly recommended by friends. It’s also great to be in a support group because it helps to put the situation into perspective, to give and get support and knowing that I’m not alone. At first, I thought I didn’t need to go to a support group because I had a small stage, but it doesn’t matter. I have learned throughout this journey not to downplay what I went through. Whatever stage, it’s still a hard and stressful situation to go through. It also helps me to go support groups to help and encourage other people.

The cancer helped me put some aspects of my life into perspective. Before getting cancer, I was so upset that my hair was turning gray and I hated that my thighs spread when I sat in my wheelchair. Now, I don’t care that I have gray hair and that my thighs spread when I sit. I also never cared about eating salads because I didn’t like the taste of lettuce, but now I’m trying to eat more salads among more fruits and vegetables to be healthier.

Remember to always go to your annual checkups! I’m so thankful for the doctor who found the lump and ordered tests even though women don’t usually get mammograms until they turn forty.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer (or any cancer) just remember you’re not alone there is support out there, it’s not your fault and to always go to the doctor for checkups. My annual mammogram is at the end of the month. I’m a little nervous, but I know I will be okay.

I also want to let people know that I’m here for you if you want to talk.