8/6/21 #checkyoself you are your best advocate

Ladies and Gentleman-

 I do not own the rights to the hashtag #checkyoself. 

It was actually created (to my knowledge) from my dear friend, Elena who was also diagnosed with breast cancer at such a young age! 

Do you know how many people have said “Oh.. you’re so young..” but let me tell you cancer doesn’t discriminate. Did you know that most breast cancers are detected first by YOU!? 

Reading someone else’s blog is what prompted me to start feeling around my body about 8 years ago. I could have sworn I had cancer 8 years ago when I had a swollen lymph node in my left armpit… and then a couple in my neck.. and then a lump in my breast that was biopsied and came back as benign… and the list goes on. Getting to this date, I have probably seen 10 doctors in the last 8 years all for cancer concerns. I’m certain everyone thought I was crazy, but there was something in my gut telling me something was off.

I am not going to lie- I truly believe we all have some sort of “sixth sense”. That feeling in your gut that won’t go away.. yeah, that. I believe it. 100%. Trust that gut instinct. 

When I had my daughter, my left breast was a super milk producer. I literally could have fed an army of babies all with my left boob. My super boob. Flash forward 2 years later…5 years ago, I thought I felt a breast lump on the right side. I went to the doctors and due to being young, they did an ultrasound. They ended up finding a mass in my left breast that needed to be biopsied. Biopsy results were benign. My super boob was spared! 

Flash forward another two years.. my super boob is still able to get milk out of it! I think I feel another lump and I go to my doctors office. The nurse practitioner tells me she feels it, it doesn’t feel concerning, and would recommend the wait and see approach. I mention that my super boob is still able to produce milk, I ask if this is normal… and her response was just don’t play with your nipples. Got it. Good plan. 

The lump doesn’t seem to get bigger so I go on about my life. 

Now here we are… I’ve been pregnant a second time and my baby boy is 7 months old! Super boob did not do near as good of a job as it did last time when nursing. I can feed my baby but not an army of babies. 

On July 4th, I turned 30. A few days later I was in the shower and felt a knot. A new knot. A big knot. I made an appointment and went in. The nurse practitioner didn’t seem concerned but said “Now that you’re 30, you need a mammogram”. A couple days later I had a mammogram and ultrasound.. that knot was 3 cm and lymph nodes around it were slightly enlarged. A week later I had a biopsy, and a few days later the diagnosis came in.. invasive ductal carcinoma. 

GAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Public service announcement ladies- do your breast checks.. and if you go to the doctor because you’re leaking milk 6 years after your baby… don’t take “just don’t play with your nipples” as a sign that you should just wait and see and things are normal. Actually- don’t EVER wait and see. Get the damn mammogram, ultrasound or whatever and GET IT CHECKED OUT.

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