Milestones in my journey

 

Going through breast cancer puts life as you know it on hold and presents you with challenge after challenge, both mental and physical. Here are some of my big moments, including cutting my hair off, losing my hair, finishing chemo, and my mastectomy. Hover over the photos you'll see when that photo was taken and what was happening at that time.

Month #3:  Hair Cutting Party
Month #3: Hair Cutting Party

Diagnosed in September, I started chemo in November. I cut my hair one week after chemo began, and this is one of the last long locks of blonde hair that I had. This was the night of the hair cutting party. One short week later it started falling out in clumps, and two weeks after this I was completely bald.

Month #3: Hair Cutting Party
Month #3: Hair Cutting Party

This is a photo of my Mom and I at the hair cutting party. She was and still is my biggest supporter! She cut her hair too, just to try to ease the pain for me a little.

Month #4:  High Spirits for Chemo
Month #4: High Spirits for Chemo

I always felt best the day that I was supposed to go for a chemo session, simply because I had two weeks to recover from the last one. In a few short hours I would be pumped up with the most horrible drugs known to man, and they would begin to wreak havoc on my body almost immediately!

Month #6: Final Chemotherapy Session
Month #6: Final Chemotherapy Session

On the last day of chemo my niece Natalie made this sign to celebrate. It was one of the few times I allowed myself to become emotional. It was truly overwhelming to be at the end of such a crazy journey--surely was something to celebrate!

Month #7:  Charley's Birthday!
Month #7: Charley's Birthday!

This was just a one week after my last chemotherapy session. My hair had not started to grow back yet, and I still felt horrible. As each day passed though, I felt better and better and in a couple short weeks I would have a double mastectomy. I just needed to get my body physically ready for that next step!

Month #7:  Chest x-ray
Month #7: Chest x-ray

This is the chest x-ray to locate the ports. Funny thing is the girl who took the x-ray didn't know that I had expanders in. She came out of the room with a funny look on her face and asked me "Is there something inside of you?"

Month #8:  Post-Mastectomy
Month #8: Post-Mastectomy

With the expanders in place and my short hair, I would often get strange looks from people. I wore two shirts quite often to put a humorous spin on things and to explain the situation. "Yes they are fake..the real ones tried to kill me" and "Stop the War on my Rack"! Laughter is the best medicine!

Month #9:  Survivors and Previvors
Month #9: Survivors and Previvors

This is an amazing group of women I met along my journey. Four of us are breast cancer survivors. Three are previvors, which means they tested positive for the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene (which puts them in a high risk category for getting breast cancer), so they proactively had double mastectomies and reconstruction. These are very, very, brave and amazing women!

Two years later
Two years later

This is me now, two years after diagnosis! I was wearing a pink hair extension to raise money for the local hospital's breast screening clinic.