Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Life is a slightly different shade since yesterday

Hiya! For any stranger who comes across this, my name is Anjanette. To my loved ones, I am simply known as Anj. I'm a 26 year old woman, and as of yesterday (March 20, 2012), I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Yeah, I know. Kind of a doozy of an intro, right? But hey, I've gotta start somewhere, and since yesterday, it feels like starting anew doesn't seem all that bad of an idea.

For now, let's back up to when this all began...

Approximately 2 months ago my husband, Jason, and I were getting ready to move. I had finally landed a job after a lengthy period of unemployment. My new workplace would be much closer to where Jason's work was. He had been driving an hour and a half commute to (and from) work each day as we were unable to relocate without a second income.

It was during this stressful and busy time, I noticed a small lump in my right breast while I was taking a shower. I shrugged it off, figured my annual gyno appointment would be soon and I could have it examined then.

Fast forward to earlier this month. Jason and I have been moved into our place since mid January, and I've been working at Starbucks for nearly the same amount of time. Our life finally felt perfect. Humble, but I couldn't complain. So many of our prayers had been answered all at once. I felt immensely blessed. Except for one, little thing -- again, while showering, I tested the lump I'd found. I freaked out. That damn lump somehow seemed larger! I was nervous, but convinced myself I'd been overreacting. It couldn't possibly be the C word. I'm young, healthy. Never been a huge drinker. Never smoked. Never done drugs. Not to mention my family has no history of breast cancer.

Regardless, I felt concerned and sought some peace of mind. I originally made an appointment with my old gyno who was located back in the area where we had been living. The soonest I would have been able to get in was, guess when? March 20th! Ah, the irony. Hubby was not pleased at how long it would be before I'd get looked at. So, after he'd asked some co-workers for suggestions, and it was through one of those suggestions I found the amazing doctor and medical group currently dealing with me.

After my initial appointment with my gynecologist on March 9th, he immediately ordered me an ultrasound/mammo to further examine the breast mass in question. Exactly a week later, on March 16th, I went in and in the same day, had an ultrasound biopsy done. As it was done on a Friday, my results wouldn't be in until Monday evening. My appointment was scheduled for that following Tuesday. Yep, March 20th. A day I will never forget, but hope to one day forgive.

I was hopeful, so I showed up unattended expecting to find out that my biopsy had come back negative. You know something? Expectations really suck. I was taken into the consultation room, and the doctor who performed my biopsy came in. I immediately had a sinking feeling. Not certain whether this is routine for negative results or not, but to me, this seemed like a bad omen. I was correct in my notion.

As he spoke the words, my shock/disbelief/grief/fear had to be all over my face. As it took a moment to sink in, once I'd digested what I'd heard, I broke into tears. How else do you react to such heartbreaking and frightening news? I needed my husband.

My nurse navigator, a terribly sweet and wonderful woman named Susann, swept me away to her office in an instant. She supplied me with tissues, allowed me the time to call Jason, and then gave me all the cold, hard facts about what I was going to be facing next.

I specifically have infiltrating ductal carcinoma. Basically, my cancer began in the milk duct, and has grown outside of it now (thus the infiltrating bit). It's kind of a guess at this point, but it's at somewhere between stage 1 and 2. The good news? My lymph nodes are not infected as of writing this, thank God. The bad news? It has a "high combined histologic grade". Wtf does that mean? Well, the doctors tell me it means it's active and growing quickly.

Okay, I could comprehend all this. The next course of action was for me to get an MRI, um, ASAP. I'm pretty claustrophobic, but knew it wasn't a choice for me to skip out on. The miracle workers at my medical group, happened to have an opening yesterday and squeezed me in. Susann sat through the entire MRI with me. It was such a relief to have simply another human being in the room with me who could sympathize.

After that, I had an appointment about an hour later to meet with a breast surgeon. By that time, Jason was able to make it down to be there supporting me. I don't know if I've ever felt so grateful for him. I love that fella so much, I don't know what I'd do without him through this...

Once my consultation with the breast surgeon was done, I understood things much more clearly. I knew what options I had, and a pretty good idea of what my choice would be. While I may not be 100% sure, I am 99.9% sure that I will be getting a double mastectomy with immediate reconstructive surgery.

I wish to eradicate this cancer, and make sure it can't come back. I will do what it takes to ensure that much. If it means losing my real boobies, so be it! The jerks are trying to kill me anyway. So eff you, boobs! :P

Tomorrow I have a consultation with a plastic surgeon. I will be posting updates and my thoughts during this process. I need somewhere to vent/keep people updated/inspire other young women experiencing the same thing.

So, I suppose that's all I know and have to say for the time being. I know with the love and support of God, my husband, family and friends, I will kick the shit out of this cancer. I don't intend to go down without a fight.

My life has been forever changed since March 20th, but I shall only allow that to be for the better.

Thanks for reading and God bless!

Remember, everything happens for a reason.


  1. Amazing! My wife has to be the single strongest person I've ever met! Love you honey and I'm looking forward to being by your side through this entire thing. We'll both come out of this better people!

  2. Anj,

    You will KICK this cancers ass and I know you absolutely will be even stronger than you are today. You keep that beautiful head held high and walk with pride knowing that you DID get in there early enough, God is with you, and cancer will NOT take you down. F*CK CANCER!!!!!! I love you!!

  3. I have to agree with Jason!! You are pretty amazing Anj! I'm so glad they caught this early and that you're in good hands with a medical team that you feel comfortable with. You're an inspiration!!

  4. Everything will work out i am sure! Let me know if there is anything my wife or i can do! Love you guys!

  5. Stay strong Anj, you will come through this stronger and cancer free!! The blog is a great idea. It really helped me when I went through this junk last year.

  6. I LOVE this my little SILy. Good for you and words can't express how proud of you I am. Eff Cancer! And just so you know, even with your double mastectomy before getting implants, your boobs will probably still be bigger than mine ;)

  7. You are such a strong and positive person.....Cancer picked the wrong girl to mess with I'll tell ya that much. We love you so much and will be here every step of the way for you. You have an amazing support system make sure you lean on everyone of us when you need to.....XOXO!!!!!

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to reading until the day you're the champ and kicked ass against the C word! Prayers to you Anj! (friend of Reuben's).
    Carol Perez

  9. Love this. Great idea to get your thoughts out there. Stay strong and know you are loved.

  10. i didnt know your treatment was going to be so...intense. anjanette if you need ANYTHING let me know. i love you doll and you are in my prayers, my girlfriends prayers and my families prayers. if you or jason need anything, i dont live too far away.

  11. Your blog is AWESOME and I LOVE how you are sharing this journey with us. Your beauty shines through every word and I'm SO overwhelmed and impressed. I'm thinking of you and on the Anj Train of love and support.... :)