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Rhonda Diagnosed at age 28

"My story starts out similar to so many others on here; the ending is just a little more unique..."


My story starts out similar to so many others on here; the ending is just a little more unique.... April 10, 2002 was a morning like any other. I awoke to the sound of my two young boys tumbling over each other, running down the hallway to my bedroom. After lots of hugs and kiss, I sent them downstairs for breakfast. Before getting out of bed, I took a nice long stretch that was quickly interrupted by a sharp pain in the top of my right breast. Instinctively, I push on it with my left hand and – wham! At that moment my life changed forever.

"No way!" I thought to myself. "This is crazy! It has to be a clogged milk duct or something. There's no way it's a lump. I'm only 28 years old, and besides, I'd just finished nursing my youngest son about 6 months ago." My internal dialog was running amuck as I tried to make sense of what I was feeling. I walked around the house for the next 20 minutes trying to talk myself out of what I'd just felt. Then I called my husband at work. He sounded concerned but like me wasn't too worried because I was, after all, only 28. Way too young for breast cancer...right?

He told me to call the doctor and see what they said. The only family history of the disease is my mom's cousin. No one else. Since she was also a patient of my doctor, he said he wanted to see me to check it out. I went in and he too wasn't too concerned because of my age, and the fact that it didn't "feel" malignant, but he ordered an ultrasound to make sure. Thank goodness he did.

I went across the street to the ultrasound clinic where the technician took her time checking each angle she saw. She said she was going to take the pictures to be read and would be right back. When she came back, there was another technician with her. I knew at that instant it wasn't good news. She'd brought reinforcements. They told me that the radiologist wasn't sure of the diagnosis and he wanted to "squeeze" me in for a mammogram - ha ha. That too was inconclusive. I was then referred to a surgeon where I had a biopsy that once again came out inconclusive." I looked at my husband, and then my doctor and said "Look, I don't really care what it is, but it doesn't belong there. Take it out." I was afraid of the "should've, would've, could've" that might come along after if I didn't take care of it. I'm glad I didn't wait.

After a partial mastectomy (it was Stage II with 2 positive lymph nodes), and 6 months of intensive chemotherapy, I found 2 more lumps. "That's it!" I wanted to hit this with everything I could. For my kids' sake, my husbands' sake, and my own sake. At this point, I opted for a bilateral mastectomy, followed by 2 months of radiation, and 5 years of tamoxcifen. Today, I am approaching 7 years cancer free!

Oh yea, and my unique ending...after the doctors told me the chemo would make me sterile, I gave birth to a 6 lbs. 11 oz., healthy baby boy 6 months after finishing radiation treatments. Life is beautiful.

Are you a survivor, spouse, friend, or caretaker with a story to tell? We'd love to hear from you.