Instead of counting the years that I’ve survived cancer, I prefer to say I just celebrated 7 years “cured” in May 2018.
I was diagnosed with Her2 positive invasive ductal carcinoma after finding a lump in my right breast, near the rib cage. I completed 16 rounds of chemotherapy over 5 months. Four were the brutal kind and twelve were less brutal but with plenty of fun side effects! I kept exercising, both running and lifting weights, during treatment, but in the end I gained 15 pounds, most of which I blame on cake and good scotch. I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy on May 31, 2011. The pathology report came back clean: complete response, no cancer left.
After treatment I underwent reconstruction with silicone implants, which took 5 months. This means I just remove the pads that come with Handful bras. The clean pathology report meant I got to keep my own nipples, and I figure if they get pointy it’s kind of amazing. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
At the time of my diagnosis, I worked for Rivermark Community Credit Union. Before every single treatment, one of my coworkers presented me with a delicious homemade meal. I felt supported every day and could not be more grateful, because I know that not every patient feels supported by their employer.
The best advice I received, which I still share with others, was to avoid googling my illness, also known as “Dr. Google,” and stick only to knowledgeable websites. I met many wonderful women on my journey and am so happy when I see my survivor sisters thriving. I’d also say cancer gave me more balance in my life. I work hard at my job, but my home life is full of adventure and peace.
One thing that has helped keep me cancer free is that I kept exercising and lifting weights, all while experiencing no lymphedema symptoms. It’s important to find both a type of exercise you enjoy and a place to do it in where you feel connected and supported. I found both when my former trainer introduced me to Industrial Strength Gym, five years ago. I’ve grown so much as a person and an athlete since I joined Industrial Strength. It’s also where I was convinced to try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and now I’ve been training for four years.
I will continue to try new things as the years keep unfolding. I’m training for my next big jiu jitsu competition in the spring. I’ve embraced hiking and backpacking, and even a bit of rock climbing. I’m determined to make the most of every year cured from breast cancer!
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Before breast cancer happened to me, I have to admit I just didn’t think about it. With no family history and living what I believed was a very healthy lifestyle, it wasn’t part of my thoughts or worries. I look back on that time of innocence as a blessing. Ignorance was bliss, and I didn’t even know it.
I was living the happiest days of my life Memorial Day Weekend 2017, when I found out I was pregnant. In the week leading up to my first OB appointment at 7 weeks, I had been feeling around as my breasts were changing rapidly and becoming sore, when suddenly I felt a lump on the left side. It didn’t strike fear in my heart, but it registered as, “I’ll have my OB appointment next week, and if it’s anything concerning, they will point it out to me.” I chocked it up to pregnancy and continued feeling excitement about our family becoming a party of 3.
Use a measuring tape around your bust and ribcage and measure in inches to determine what size would fit you best. Handful can comfortably accommodate an A, B, or C cup. D+ cups can wear Handful Bras as an every day leisure, yoga and walking bra, but the higher the cup size, the more your cups might runneth over!