My name is Chiara Robinette and I am 29. Two years ago, I went was diagnosed with breast cancer. Here is my story:
In May of 2014, I was having a post workout shower when I noticed a lump in my right breast. I didn't think too much of it since I was only 27. I figured I'd have my general practitioner check it out at my next appointment, I already had it scheduled anyway. The check up went fine but when she did a breast exam on me, she suggested an ultrasound of the lump. She wasn't terribly concerned but wanted to make sure. The next day I had an ultrasound of my right breast and I could tell by the technician's face that it wasn't good. A few hours later, I received a phone call from the doctors office to set up an appointment for a diagnostic mammogram and possible a biopsy. I felt like my head was spinning. They had an opening the next day which I happily took. I had the mammogram done and was feeling optimistic that it was nothing when the doctor came in and said that I absolutely needed to have a biopsy and that she had already set it up at the hospital. I left straight away. The radiologist that performed the biopsy was so wonderful. She was also able to tell me that she felt pretty certain that it was breast cancer but wouldn't know for sure until the pathology was done...which was going to take at least 3 days. Three days doesn't seem like a lot of time until you're waiting for life altering pathology results. Every minute feels like an eternity. I made it though, and the three days were up and I was sitting in the doctors office again. It was cancer and it was aggressive.
I was only looking at a lumpectomy prior to being sent for an MRI. The MRI was scheduled to find out the extent of the cancer in my right breast. The results showed that it was pretty extensive. I needed to have a mastectomy. After a few days of consideration, I decided to have bilateral mastectomy. I didn't want to face the same situation in the other breast, ever. It was worth it to me to have the peace of mind.
So, surgery day came, and both of my breasts were gone. Fortunately, I didn't have the BRCA gene mutation so I was able to have the nipple and skin sparing procedure. I was also able to have tissue expanders placed. Between that and the kind of mastectomy I had, I was left feeling like I had a part of my femininity left after surgery. Then came another waiting game. My tissue had to analyzed by the pathologist which would take another 3-5 days. It ended up taking 5 and came with good news. The cancer was limited to my right breast and hadn't entered my lymph nodes. However, because of the aggressive nature of my cancer and my age, my oncologist recommended a 12 week course of chemo to start as soon as I was healed up from surgery. He also suggested having my eggs harvested to preserve my fertility. Since my husband and I didn't have kids and wanted them we got the process started. Chemo can be very damaging to many areas of the body but especially the reproductive system. I learned that when you do this kind of fertility preservation, there are lots of steps. Ultrasounds, appointments, and LOTS of hormones. Because there are so many, the office offered a one on one teaching lesson with a nurse to learn about how to administer the hormones. I had my session and left the office with a lot of notes and awaiting the phone call of when exactly to start the hormones. The office called later that day but had some other news to share with me. I wouldn't be needing the hormones because I was pregnant! By about four weeks based on there calculations.
So, with the blessing of my oncologist, we postponed chemo for a little more than 9 months. In April 2015, I had my beautiful, crazy, miracle of a baby boy. He was perfectly healthy, I'm happy to report! The time came for a PET scan to make sure the cancer hadn't spread. It hadn't and chemo started at the end of May 2015. Chemo is awful. I was so tired and loopy. Fortunately, I had plenty of family and friends to help me with my newborn when sleep was all I could manage to accomplish. All things considered, chemo went pretty quickly. It also came with a less than 5% chance of recurrence and a cancer free me! I'm a two year survivor ready to educate women on the importance of early detection through Bright Pink!
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