Hello my name is Bethany I am 42 years old, and I have been diagnosed with a highly unusual pattern of stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma. I’m not really sure what that means yet because my journey is just beginning but by then end of this book I am expecting that I get an honorary degree in Breast cancer terminology. I don’t really know what I am doing with breast cancer. I am young-ish, I exercise regularly, I don’t eat fast food, processed foods, eat red meat or pork, I don’t drink or smoke and I take most of the supplements that several researches have said kill cancer cells such as Vitamin D, DIM, Quercetin, and I eat a lot of broccoli; yet here I am. Don’t get me wrong I am not totally extreme on my healthy lifestyle I mean I do love dessert and sweets and I am not vegan, the produce I purchase is not organic, but I do clean it in a vinegar and water wash before I eat it. I like poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and cheese…..oh how I love cheese!!!!! In other words I am healthy but not one of these super healthy fitness gurus who sell books or live on a farm or close to a farm that produces only organics and raise the healthiest of animals. I mean I live in North Texas, not Oregon so my resources for that kind of stuff are limited. Oh how I wish I lived in Oregon. My mental life is also healthy. I have a wonderful relationship with my husband. I live close by my family which is somewhat crazy (whose family isn’t) but my relationship with them is good. I have an 8 year daughter who is the light of my life. In other words I really like my life. So what in the world am I doing here? How did this happen and why? Well that’s what I will hopefully figure out as well as things to expect that are never told to you. For instance when I went in for a stereotactic biopsy where they removed tissue and the doctor and nurses all said it is really quick and no one has ever complained about it really hurting. They Lie! It hurts like hell! This is coming from someone who has a really high tolerance for pain. I would like to preface that everyone’s experience with cancer is special and unique and even though there are similarities everyone’s experience is exactly that their experience and this is about my experience and the journey that this cancer thing is taking me.
When your boobs swell up it’s not god finally giving you the bigger boobs that you (or your husband for that matter) have been hoping for. This started happening when I was 42. Now in all honesty maybe I would have known something was up had I been getting mammograms like I was recommended to do once I turned 40. I however chose to believe that I didn’t need to go to those barbaric methods of having my breasts squished and dosed with radiation since my breasts were very dense and figured nothing would be seen anyway. I mean I was healthy, I took cancer fighting supplements regularly, didn’t pollute my body, exercised at the least 3 times a week. I just had a physical if there was something wrong with me it would show up in blood work right? It must just be hormones, but I don’t want to take hormone drugs. Those will make me crazy. I’ll just up my hormone balancing supplements. Seriously, why is the left boob a whole cup size bigger than the right? I’m sure it has something to do with hormonal changes, besides no one’s body is symmetrical. After all my left foot is a little bigger than my right. Oh how I wish I would have been getting mammograms. Sure I may have still had cancer but perhaps I could have caught it earlier and had an easier treatment. What finally sent me to the doctor was my left boob turning red and looking like I had been punched in the breast, and my skin look all pitted. Actually I had to consult the internet first, Holy shit! Inflammatory Cancer! Seriously! Time to call the Dr; Me the next day on the phone with the receptionist of my primary care doctor. Um I need to make an appointment today. My boob is doing something really weird and it’s kind of freaking me out. Two hours later sitting on the table in the exam room with the gown on my Dr. comes in and asks me what’s going on. I tell her and then she asks when my last mammo was. I look to floor and mumble I haven’t gotten one yet. She gives me a stern look and asks to see my breast. A complete look of shock comes over her face and she feels around my breasts and tells me I need to have a mammogram and sonogram ASAP, and walks out of the room completely freaked. Should I get dressed? The nurse comes in and tells me the Dr. is trying to get an appointment for a mammo and sonogram ASAP. So this is pretty serious? Yes, she wants to see you first thing Monday morning. Oh crap I really do have Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Tears, shock and fear ensue. I was then scheduled for a mammo which confirmed a suspicious mass, then that stereotactic biopsy which confirmed breast cancer. The doctors were all pretty sure it was not Inflammatory Breast Cancer. The unofficial diagnosis was Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma but they wouldn’t know for sure until I had my lymph nodes biopsied. So I was scheduled for surgery to have suspicious lymph nodes removed and have a port put in for my inevitable chemotherapy.