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18. In College. Cute Boyfriend. Breast Cancer. No Insurance! By Guest Blogger Leah W.

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Around November 2010, I found a lump in my right breast myself and, I went to the doctor as soon as I could. We didn’t have insurance at the time so I had to wait on some things until we had to money for it. I had ultrasounds, mammograms, and a biopsy and they found another lump in my right breast. They all came back as me having Breast Cancer. The larger lump was 5.0 cm the other, 1.3 cm. I started college in January 2011 and I got Diagnosed later that month. Once I found out that I had Breast Cancer I have to withdraw from college.

I went to UAB In Birmingham and they set me up with a team of Doctors. They told me even though the cancer is just in my right breast its not a matter of IF I get it in my left breast it was a matter of WHEN I get it in my left breast. I had to take chemo for six months, every Monday. I lost my hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows. I got very sick at first but it seem to get a little easier when I switched from A/C to Taxol. After Chemo I went in for surgery on 7/29/11. I had my right breast removed along with my lymph nodes.

My larger lump went down to 1.1cm and the other lump was not longer there(thanks to chemo). When they did my surgery they put in a tissue expander. After I started to heal I got liquids put in my expander every other week. A month or so later I started radiation. I stayed in the Hope Lodge in Birmingham for 6 weeks. I had radiation everyday, other then weekends. I came home on 11/16/11 and I was done with radiation.

A few days after I came home I got very sick. I was rushed to UAB at 3am. My tissue expander was infected. I had to have an emergency surgery to remove the expander. I lost my insurance a few days before my surgery. I had to wait a year to get approved by Medicaid. I went a over a year with one breast. I finally got approved by Medicaid and I had my reconstruction surgery. I had a tram flap surgery. I had a tummy tuck and they used the left over skin to do a patch job on my right breast were they took my expander out. They used the fat and muscle from my stomach to make me two new breasts.

LeahPScar

On 5/8/14 I had a small touch up on my breasts that my doctor wanted to correct. As far as I know, I’m healthy now. I know that I’m a survivor. I never in my life thought that I would get Breast Cancer. Of course, I knew that women had it but never at my age. I was so unaware about everything. I had no idea what to do. I knew nothing about cancer at all. I have no family history. My cancer was estrogen based. I started to take birth control at 14 years old because of menstrual reasons. My doctors told me that my birth control made my cancer grow 5x the size. It was scary but, it might have saved my life. If my lump wasn’t noticeably large to were I could see it. That cancer could have spread and I could have never even known it was killing me.

I’m thankful that things happened as it did. No, I’m not happy that I got cancer but I learned so much on my journey. God had a plan for me. I had wonderful support from my friends, family, and my now husband. Me and Tyler meet in High School before I even knew anything about me having cancer. We were both 18 when I was diagnosed. He stood by me the whole time. He took care of me and called me beautiful everyday when I didn’t even have any hair. We got married on 5/18/13. We are both happy, healthy, and thankful. I’m so thankful to be alive.

LeahKiss

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