Location: Detroit, MI
Diagnosis: Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Instagram username: @MeYouandRucablue
In July I was on vacation and found a lump near my armpit on my right breast. I was able to get into my doctors about a week later. My doctor said it was likely a cyst and sent me for an ultrasound to be sure due to my family history of breast cancer and BRCA1. The ultrasound came back as a fibroadenoma but I was still sent for a biopsy to be sure. During the biopsy the physician assured me it was a fibroadenoma, two days later I got a call saying it was triple negative breast cancer. Three out of my four aunts on my mom’s side had breast cancer, so this was nothing new to my family but being so young made it more difficult. Following my diagnosis, my days were spent in and out of doctors’ appointments and procedures. I have a HUGE fear of needles and going through the numerous blood draws and biopsies while awake was a huge hurdle for me, but once I got through them, I realized my strength and developed a deep self-respect. In November, I found out I am BRCA1 positive which wasn’t a surprise given that my mother is as well. I’ve worked in the veterinary field for almost 8 years but had to stop due to the amount of disease and germs sick animals carry, and the chemo suppressing my immune system. This was a big adjustment as animals are a passion of mine and I don’t do well sitting at home with nothing to do. To keep busy I started playing video games, watching movies, perfecting makeup (it’s a whole new ball game without hair!) and baking. My chemo will be a total of 16 treatments followed by a double mastectomy with reconstruction. I have been fortunate with minimal side effects from my chemo. Having a cancer diagnosis as a young woman is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to deal with, but it has also showed me how supportive and loving people can be. I have never loved myself more than I do now after overcoming all of the challenges I’ve faced so far. You need to do little things to treat yourself when you can to boost your mood. I cut all of my hair off and dyed it pink prior to my chemo which really helped me feel good, and nowadays I take baths, do face masks, and get massages when I can. The biggest thing I have learned throughout this process so far is that no matter how lonely and down you feel on some days, you are not alone. Reach out.