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I found a lump in my right breast. I had just checked myself a month before and there was nothing there. It kinda came out of nowhere and grew pretty quick. The official diagnosis was stage 2, grade 3 ER/PR+, HER-2 negative with 2/10 lymph nodes.

I had to wait almost a week for the results of the biopsy, so during that time I tried to prepare myself for bad news. Nothing can prepare you for those words, “You have cancer.” I was shocked. I couldn’t breathe. I was scared. I was sad. I didn’t feel too certain about anything anymore.

Because I tested negative for the BRCA gene mutation, I decided to have a single radical mastectomy and a total of ten lymph nodes were removed. I followed that surgery with chemotherapy, radiation, and two reconstructive surgeries. I also have to take Tamoxifen for 10 years.

My fertility issues have been the biggest problem for me. Breast cancer has put many restrictions on my ability to conceive a baby. Other than that, I have some trauma on my ribs from all my surgeries, it flares up now and again and can get very sore and uncomfortable. I also can’t move my right arm as well as I used to.

The way I look at life has completely changed. All my priorities changed in an instant. I was depressed most of my twenties and allowed that to become my identity. A lot of my personal relationships suffered because of it. Having a life threatening illness lifted that fog and weight off of my shoulders. I feel I was given a second chance at life. I’m grateful to be here and thankful everyday. I have renewed relationships with my parents and have a wonderful marriage now! Adversity brought me to a higher sense of self and led me to my spiritual life. And I’m now the mother to a fantastic little boy!