It’s been 2 years today since I had my first lumpectomy, April 28th 2016. I remember waking up this very morning and posting a video announcing my diagnoses to the world. When I woke up from surgery and looked at my phone, it was filled with messages of love and encouragement; messages from friends, strangers, and breast cancer survivors.
My life has forever changed, emotionally and physically. You can read about my journey with breast cancer here. Today I want to talk about how I’m doing 2 years later.
My scars are a reminder about what I’ve been through. Opting for a double mastectomy was the biggest and hardest decision of my life. I remember going through with the operation with no one by my side. I didn’t want anyone to see me look the way I did.
When I woke up I was anxious to know if i would still have my nipples. Somehow the thought of not having nipples made me feel as if I would be less human, so when my surgeon told me that I would be able to keep them, I felt such relief. Now two years have passed and my doctors told me if my cancer would ever return, there’s a possibility that it would be in my nipples. It’s very hard for the scans to detect cancer in that tissue area, so the thought of cancer returning haunts me every day. Specially considering that in my experience, when I first did my scans the doctors completely missed my tumor. Another thing to worry about.
Every year I come back to the US to do blood tests and I experience major anxiety. I have been poked and prodded way too many times because I have the tiniest veins, so every time I have to get my blood drawn they miss my veins several times.
My last blood test was quite alarming as it showed low count for white blood cells.
Doctors don’t want me to have to do mammograms every year because the radiation it emits may do more harm than good. I’ve already had 4 mammograms so far.
After the double mastectomy my oncologist wanted me to take Tamoxifen, a cancer drug that would help reduce the chances of the cancer coming back. However I chose not to because my recurrence rate was already low so the potential benefits of taking Tamoxifen were not statistically significant and the side effects would make me experience early menopausal symptoms.
Physically I can barely feel any sensation in my breasts. It feels so odd, almost as if my breasts were not part of my body. Every day it feels numb and sometimes it hurst, which is a common side effect of having a mastectomy.
In the future when I have kids I won’t be able to breast feed, which many mothers claim it builds a physical bond with your baby.
In my everyday life and specially when exercising, I’m limited in my movements, mostly in the chest area. But even normal household duties can sometimes be difficult, even something as simple as to holding a heavy pan in front of me.
So to sum it up, the possibility that the cancer may come back is always in the back of my mind, and I keep questioning why I even got it in the first place. Specially considering that I did the BRCA genetic testing and results were negative, plus there’s no cancer history in my family.
All in all this is a lot to process, but it’s not going to stop me from enjoying life! If you or someone you know is going through a similar situation feel free to leave a comment or contact me.