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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

Help Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes Send 30 Breast Cancer Survivors To Our Annual Black Tie Fundraiser, Free Of Charge!

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It’s our favorite time of year! Time for the Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes, Black Tie Fundraiser.

Every year we host a beautiful evening of food, fun, fundraising and philanthropy, to assist in our wish granting and education efforts. This year, we have 3 pending wish requests. Help us make these wishes come true!

Being a 9 year breast cancer survivor, who has lingering side effects and mounting medical expenses, I know first hand, the hardship that could be created by spending $100 on a fundraiser ticket. For this reason, we have created a Crowdrise Fundraiser in hopes of sending 30 breast cancer survivors to this event, at no expense to them.

Every year, we receive messages from young women, thanking us for giving them the opportunity, to attend this event. Some of the women have never attended a black tie event and some have never worn a gown. This event also gives women the opportunity to meet and take photos with other young survivors, many they only know from social media. Sadly these pictures have been used in the obituaries of past wish recipients and attendees.

Donate today. Every little bit counts! $10, $20, $50… whatever you can afford. Even if you cant donate financially, please share this message with your friends, followers, co-workers and family. You can donate at www.crowdrise.com/2014SSPWBTF. We thank you in advance and we hope to see you on Sunday, September 28th. xoxo ~ Madame President

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I Was Not Built To Break! By guest blogger Tameka J.

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At the age of 13, I was diagnosed with osteosarchoma (bone cancer). At that time I underwent a total knee replacement and 1 year of chemotherapy. Since then I had 2 knee surgeries and had been in remission for almost 20 years. This past May, something just wasn’t right. I felt a large lump on my breast and it was sore. Because of my previous cancer history any little thing and I’m at the doctor. I guess that’s a good thing because when the did the mammogram they saw that there was a large mass on my left breast. Same breast that I had two cyst in previously. Because I was about to have surgery to remove fibroids that same month the doctors just took the opportunity to do a breast biopsy.

At the age of 31, I was diagnosed with DCIS, and my 2nd battle with cancer. I was devastated! When I received my diagnosis, I remember just saying “no, not again”. I cried and I prayed, I even questioned God by asking him why. Why did I have to go through this AGAIN? Initially they thought that it was not invasive but after further test they saw that 2 inches of it was. Because of my cancer history I made the decision to have a double mastectomy done even though I was tested for the gene and did not have it, nor was there any family history.

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Three weeks after my diagnosis, I had a bilateral mastectomy (June 10, 2013) and in July of 2013, I started chemo. Making the decision to have the mastectomy was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make and one of the hardest producers I have ever had to go through. I had to have chemo twice a month for 4 months. It was the longest 4 months of my life! Losing my hair all over again, losing my taste, and having to be stuck in my chest to receive the chemotherapy brought back old memories and made me depressed. Some days I felt like I didn’t want to do it anymore but I knew I had to, not for me, but for my little girl! In May of this year, I completed my reconstruction process.

The devil thought he had me, he thought he won but my God’s word says different. God did it before and I knew he would do it again. Going through chemo and having a bilateral mastectomy was hard. Some days I felt like I could not do it anymore BUT GOD…God sent me strength in the form of my praying family and friends. They were/are my rocks! Where I am weak God showed me he was strong. I continued to have faith and sometimes it was as small as a mustard seed but God’s word says that is all we need. I trusted him to get me through and knew that no matter how bad or how weak I felt he was holding my right hand and covering me with his grace. I know that no matter what I have gone through, I was NOT built to break!!