In 2009, life as I knew it became life as I know it when I was diagnosed with de novo metastatic breast cancer. Having never missed a mammogram, I found the lump myself. On the same day that I met with the surgeon and found out I had aggressive breast cancer I moved my mother to hospice and she died that night.
Despite finding out that I was Stage IV Her 2+ upon diagnosis, burying my mother out of state, experiencing a lung collapse upon port insertion and becoming depressed, I began treatment…six cycles of neo-adjuvant TCH and currently Herceptin every 3 weeks since June 2, 2009 (currently at Herceptin infusion #231), SBRT to my liver, lumpectomy and additional radiation following the lumpectomy.
I recurred in 2012 but, once again, life took a turn. At the same time of this diagnosis my asymptomatic husband was diagnosed with 80% blockage of his “widow maker” and my mastectomy had to be delayed for his quadruple bypass.
Currently I am living with both NED and my husband. My story is one of an exceptional responder and I am grateful to the advocates and the brave women in the early clinical trials who helped bring Herceptin to market as it has given me these “bonus years.” Because of this, I feel it is my responsibility, my honor and my privilege be a Patient Advocate for others. I joined bcRAN (breast cancer Research Advocacy Network) to become a Patient Advocate in 2017. My primary focus has been on community outreach and community education regarding breast cancer and clinical trials. I am now a Patient Advocate for various grants and programs because, although science isn’t my thing, staying alive is!