I was 38 years old and in the height of my legal career when I discovered a lump during a self exam. It was underneath my right arm and did not feel like I thought a breast cancer lump would feel. Since my maternal grandmother died of breast cancer at age 40, I did not want to ignore it. My doctors could barely feel the lump and could only find it when I pointed it out. Though believing it was nothing, they still sent me for a mammogram just to be safe. It was my lucky day. Thankfully, my doctors took this conservative approach. I had invasive ductal carcinoma. After two lumpectomies, five rounds of chemo and six weeks of radiation, I was beginning my new “normal” life. Being a breast cancer survivor does not define who I am, but
it does define what I do and how I do it. It has become a positive event in my life by providing me opportunities to help others through “the process,” including my sister. I am able to help bring awareness that breast cancer can be a young person’s disease. I can demonstrate to others that you can love your new “normal” life. I cherish the friendships I have made in the breast cancer community. Some are no longer with me and I miss them terribly. Others continue to inspire me. While breast cancer is not glamorous and is extremely painful—both physically and emotionally, this community is one of beauty and strength. Through those two characteristics, we will find a cure. Until then, we need early diagnoses and the best treatments possible for all those that fight this battle.
Live. Love. Laugh.