At the age of 39 I found a lump in my right breast. I had been getting my annual routine mammograms due to my mom having a brush with breast cancer. I knew I needed to find out exactly what it was. I went to have the ultrasound and diagnostic mammogram done and, after what seemed a lifetime, the radiologist brought my husband in and told us it was definitely cancer and that it needed to be removed immediately. Shocked at the news I still waited for a biopsy to confirm. The wait seemed endless for her to call me with the results. I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer IIB, which makes it more difficult to treat since it often requires combinatorial therapies. (Triple negative is sometimes used as a surrogate term for basal-like; however, more detailed classification may provide better guidance for treatment and better estimates for prognosis.)
Taking it all in I was NUMB to the mere thought of what was ahead of me but I knew I needed to be strong. My husband started a movement with what seemed like simple hashtag #ALICESTRONG. I had so much support from not only my family but my friends, co-workers, strangers who only knew of me through a “GiveForward” page my twin sister had started. I knew that it was going to be a long, tough journey but God chose me to stand up and not give up. I got past the initial shock and the next thing was getting my med port put in and I started what would be 20 weeks of 3 types of different dose dense chemotherapy - one was actually called "red devil".
After suffering painful trouble with my port, multiple needle pokes, and taxing on my veins I finished chemo and it was time for a double mastectomy - but God had different plans. I developed a blood clot that was pretty much cutting off blood flow to my heart. I was scheduled for emergency surgery. Nothing went as planned.
So there I was now 7 months post-surgery and now almost 41 with only one breast and I was wearing breast prosthesis. I have had the reconstruction and that was another two part surgery, first removing the breast and placing the expanders in. (Which they felt like 2 baseballs in my chest). The last one I just finished up was the exchange, taking out the expanders and putting in the implants.
I can say that through this I have learned to keep POSITIVE thoughts. I have had some pretty amazing people on this journey. With the simple hashtag #ALICESTRONG I am still here and I am alive. I am striving to make positive changes for other women going through their journey. I try to be there for anyone I see that is having a hard time whether it be breast cancer or just a hard day. Remember God does work in mysterious ways.
You never know how strong you are until being strong is your ONLY option.