Mishelle J.

Tough Enough to Wear Pink

My name is Mishelle and I have been asked to share my journey with breast cancer. And that I am proof that early detection is key to beating this disease. I was diagnosed in December 2001 at the age of thirty. I had been in to see my doctor several times due to some swelling and pain my breasts. But as most of you know fibrocystic breasts are not uncommon. After several trips my doctor told me as a precaution, she was sending me to a specialist. Still I am not concerned and breast cancer not even being in question. As I spoke with the specialist, she explained that she wanted to run some blood tests and monogram because these masses and quite large she wanted a biopsy. And she wanted me to go have a spinal block to try and give me some release from the pain. And she explained to me that breast cancer was a possibility but is pretty uncommon in someone my age, but it was possible. After my appointment I drove straight to the hospital where they were waiting for me and proceeded with everything my doctor had ordered last being the spinal block. By this time it was getting late and was the first time I had a chance to check my phone and I had a missed call from my doctor’s office and a voicemail asking me to contact her immediately on her cell at that point I knew it could not be good so I called and she asked if I was with someone that could take me to a pharmacy. I said yes and she continued to explain to me that I had cancer in both breast and then she began to tell me what was known as sarcoma. And that there were three stages and three being the worst and mine was a stage two at this point all I can do is think who is going to be there for my kids. She told me to I needed to be in her office first thing, and I needed to go pick up a prescription immediately and that we would go over where to start in the morning. That was the longest night I had ever had. Your brain just runs off in a million directions. I can’t even remember arriving at her office but as I was telling the receptionist my name a nurse was waiting to take me back. As my doctor came in, I was doing everything possible to keep my composer and hear what was going to happen next. As she explained I was going to have to have surgery and remove my breast on both sides all I could think is it’s Christmas and this can’t be happening. She explained I needed to have surgery then start chemo treatments and to get my affairs in order. I told her I needed to get through Christmas then we could proceed with surgery, but I needed time to explain to my family and get my head back on straight. We scheduled the operation for the morning of the 29th of December. The next evening, I sat my family down and had to tell my child I had cancer. Never in a million years did I think I would have to have this conversation. As the day came closer, I did allot of soul searching. When the day came, I had my mind set I had to do everything I could to beating this I wanted to watch my kids graduate and see them marry and meet my grandchildren and that day my fight began. I can remember waking up after my surgery and looking at the bandages coming my chest and thinking to myself, I can do this. Day after day was a challenge and watching your hair start to fall out and your weight continue to fall and not wanting to eat because you sick to your stomach. Half way through my first round my son asked to stay home from school because he was scared of what might happen when he was gone. At that moment I got mad and told myself I couldn’t let this make him feel this way. I went through three rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. I want to share my story because breast cancer doesn’t have an age limit and don’t care if you have a family. I am living proof how one mammogram can be the one that saves your life. This disease can be beat. And thanks to a mammogram I watched my boys graduate and marry. I have ten beautiful grandchildren. I am a survivor.

-Mishelle J.