My breast cancer story… so far…

I met a great lady online… she actually found me… and she has an amazing site called which is an amazing resource….

And she moderates a site on Facebook called… Prophylactic Mastectomy – also another amazing resource…..

She asked me to tell my story…. so here it is in a nutshell… 🙂


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My breast cancer story… (so far)…

In March 2013 I felt some lumps in my left breast, I was so scared…. I managed to get in for my mammogram, weeks later…. They did a diagnostic mammogram and the words the doctor told me will forever ring in my ears…. “You just have some cysts, come back in a year”.

I’m a busy wedding photographer… I got busy with my wedding season… those words were EXACTLY what I wanted to hear and I literally stopped touching my breasts…. For months. I don’t know how I managed to miss what happened to my breast… From my view up top, everything looked normal…. I have a 4 year old, so I stay busy with him… I didn’t pay attention.  My breast had a large crease or dimple from the nipple to the underarm and my nipple was turning inward…

November 6, 2013… I was getting my son in the bath and I took a shower like usual… for some reason, I stopped and looked in the mirror. Something I rarely do…. And I actually sat on the bathroom counter and looked at myself. I do not know what possessed me to do this, I never, ever do this…. And what I saw…. Shocked me. I took a photo and sent it to my husband… then my Mom… They both agreed, I needed to go back to the doctor.

My doctor agreed it was very strange… these changes….  she sent me for another diagnostic mammogram… It was supposed to AGAIN take weeks to get me in… I was SO worried, everything I read about dimpling meant cancer. It was the EXACT same location I felt the cysts previously…. I would call daily to see if I could get my appointment moved up… November 8th… I called again. I talked to a lady and said… “listen can I send you a photo of my breast… because last April in the EXACT same spot…. I had some lumps and now my whole breast is caving in…” She put me on a brief hold and came back and said “Can you come in today?” I was SO relieved….

Everything about this appointment was different… The doctor did the ultrasound, they spent A LOT of time…. The Mammogram tech asked me… “Is your breast always this hard?”…. My heart sank and I sat there staring at the ceiling… I could not even believe it, I just knew…. The doctor came back and he said.. “Dawn, we are VERY concerned with what we see… the breast does not usually do this, unless there is a tumor pulling at it and typically those tumors are always cancer.” I asked him if he would please explain all of this to my husband….. When they pulled my husband in, he knews… “Sir, in my opinion, I think your wife has cancer”….

That ride home…. was terrible. He held my hand so tight…. we had brought two cars… we left mine there and rode home together… All these thoughts went through my head…. but primarily…. how would I tell my kids?

My biopsy followed that next week…. I had two areas, my breast and a lymph node that they biopsied… November 14, 2013… we got the dreaded call…. “Are you in a place where you can talk?…. You have Invasive Lobular and Invasive Ductal Cancer, you are ER+, PR+ and HER2-… you will need chemo and surgery…” I bawled my eyes out…. I could NOT believe this… How did this happen?

They sent me for MRI…. MRI confirmed I had a sizable tumor…. 4cm, but by feel… they felt it was more like 6cm. AND… they suspected I had some spots in my right breast as well… I went for biopsy on those spots… which on ultrasound they had a hard time finding…. But they did find one area that looked like a cyst, which the doctor thought for sure would aspirate…. It did not aspirate and they were in fact able to get a biopsy of it…. That particular spot did not YET have cancer… but it had precancerous cells… HOWEVER, these were not the spots they saw on MRI…. I was told… “it could be 4 months, 1 year…. 5 years… but you will develop breast cancer in your right breast as well….”

So, I met with my surgical oncologist… who confirmed… Stage 2 cancer that she thought at the time…. We determined my course of treatment… Chemo, then double mastectomy.. then radiation….. then delayed reconstruction.

I met with my Oncologist… by this time, he felt my lump was a palpable 6cm… he confirmed that I am Stage 3… and he determined that TAC chemo for 6 rounds would be best…. then double mastectomy…. then Radiation…. then 6-9 months later… reconstruction….

Currently…. I am undergoing chemotherapy…. I have completed 4 of 6 total rounds of  TAC chemotherapy…. My tumor has responded to chemo, they feel it has probably diminished by about half…. So far. I will be seeing my radiation oncologist on Monday and I will be seeing my plastic surgeon on Friday of this week to determine my options…. I am scheduled for my double mastectomy on April 17.

If you’d like to keep up with my story…..

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