Stage 2 Breast Cancer Survivor Says You Are Your Own Best Advocate

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“99% is not 100%. I want that other 1%.” – me “YOU are your own best advocate. It’s YOUR treatment plan – OWN it!” – also me 🙂

Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 but she has now successfully defeated cancer and lives a happy life with her family and loved ones.

The Journey

“Being told at 27 years old and that you have breast cancer is not what anyone expects to hear. Especially when there is no family history of cancer and without the presence of the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes. But I’ve never been much of a conformist when it comes to what’s “normal”, so of course, I did not fit the description of your standard breast cancer patient.

In fact, I was even told by 3 doctors that it was “extremely unlikely” that the lump I found under my arm was breast cancer, and 1 of them told me he was 99% sure it WASN’T breast cancer! But I wanted absolute certainty, and since nobody had been able to tell me what it WAS, I pushed for 100%. Sure enough, one inconclusive ultrasound and one biopsy later, it was confirmed. I was one of the few exceptions to the rule. I had breast cancer. I won’t take you through every detail of the rest of my cancer journey.

To summarize, I was initially diagnosed at stage I and the treatment plan was lumpectomy & radiation, but after the lumpectomy things changed. They found cancer cells in 1 of the lymph nodes they biopsied which meant I actually staged II and I would likely need chemotherapy. My treatment ended up being lumpectomy to remove the tumor, 4 rounds of chemotherapy over 12 weeks, and 20 sessions of radiation treatment. Thankfully I have been in remission with no evidence of disease since finishing treatment on May 17, 2017!”

Motivation to fight cancer

“My son, Wesley. He was 3 years old when I was diagnosed. No way I was going to let cancer take his mommy away from him! It also never crossed my mind that I WOULDN’T beat this thing. Not fighting was never an option. ”

The biggest hindrance

“I really had to use my voice. Speak up. Ask questions. Be informed to make decisions. Challenge the status quo and make sure I felt like my treatment plan was just that, MINE. It was difficult at times to get my oncologist to modify the plan and stray even slightly from the “standard treatment recommendations.” But I’m so glad I kept pushing and we were able to agree on what we were BOTH comfortable with.”

Message to other fighters

  • “1. You are not alone! Tap into as many resources as you can for support. I have found Instagram to be the most powerful support network through my journey.
  • YOU are your own best advocate! You know your body better than anyone else possibly could. If something doesn’t feel right to YOU, speak up. Use your voice. Take YOUR treatment plan into your own hands and rely on your doctors for help to GUIDE you through the decision making process.
  • NEVER SETTLE for anything less than 100%! If you’re not satisfied with the answers you’re getting, keep pushing for certainty. Don’t be afraid to continue asking questions until you’re comfortable.
  • Don’t give up! I know it’s a hard fight, but stay positive, and keep going. Just take it 1 day at a time. Lean on others for support. Manage your stress! (Yoga really helps!) Try not to focus on everything all at once, that’s overwhelming. Just 1 thing at a time. But don’t give up, don’t give up hope. There’s always hope!”
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