The Warriors

Danielle: Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Warrior
October 5, 2021
Read her story, in her words
Hey Everyone;

I am a 31 year old wife, mother, daughter and sister and am hoping that my story may help anyone who recognizes themselves in my journey. My journey started in March 2020, I had just walked out of the shower, dried myself off, and looked in my bathroom mirror, there it was, a lump, on the outside of my right breast.  I touched it, solid, as a rock, it didn’t move, neither did I, I don’t know how, but I knew it was cancer and I was scared beyond belief.

I sat on this information for a week, without a family doctor I had to work up the courage to go to a clinic. By the time I found the courage, Covid hit, everthing was locked down, no clinics were open. I called to see if I could refer myself for a mammogram, I was told I was 10 years too young and would need a referral from a doctor.   Without a doctor, without the ability to refer myself I had to wait. Life was busy, I have a family and pets to look after, I have responsibilities. It was October when clinics were opening again, so finally I worked up the courage again and went to the clinic, with my mom.

The doctor examined my lump and believed it was cancer.  Blood work was done and I returned to the same doctor, I was losing it so this time I brought my friend. The doctor said with certainty it was cancer. I wasn’t sure what else was said, everything went blurry and all I kept thinking was why, why is this happening to me, I am 30 years old, how do I go home and tell my family that I have cancer. The testing begins, the anticipation was long and tiresome. Ultrasounds,a core biopsy, heart scans, mammograms, MRI’s, a cat scan, another biopsy – this time my lymphnodes, and then titanium markers put in place to mark the area of cancer. I saw the surgeon November 6th, 2020 at which time I was diagnosed with Grade 3 breast cancer. My core biopsy confirmed it was infiltrating ductal carcinoma of the breast, ER negative, PR negative, and HER2 positive (reoccurring cancer). All words I never knew, never really wanted to know, and now I do know.

The first surgery was just day surgery, it was for my portacathe, this would help with getting my treatments. My first round of chemotherapy, I had additional injections after each treatment for 7 days to keep my cells up.  During my second round of chemotherapy I started my Hercepton treatment, and before long it was time to start talking surgery. “I am prepared and willing to give you both up so I never have to do this again, so I can LIVE my life. May 19th, surgery time, I’m ready, I’m able to do this, but no it’s cancelled, rescheduled for June 9th.  I am devastated, my heart hurt, this is my life, this needs to happen.

The time came a second time, this time it was a go, into surgery I went. It was done, but a long night I had, I spent it with my face in a bag, vomiting continuously.  I finally slept, but not for long. I woke up thirsty, I woke up in pain, I couldn’t get up and I couldn’t roll over. My chest had swelled into my armpit from a bloodclot in my chest. I was rushed back to the operating room for a 2nd surger and 3 blood transfusions.  Finally it’s over, I’m starting to heal and get to go home. My scars have not healed and my body isn’t bruised anymore.  I am trying to finish my Hercepton treatment but have stopped it because my heart valves are working slower than they should.  I am now taking heart medication to protect my heart. I have had 25 radiation treatments and thankfully that went smoothly. I am moving forward, hoping to finish my hercepton treatments and finally ring that bell I have been waiting to hear for such a long time.

That is only one side of my journey.  Cancer isn’t just a disease that runs through my body, it runs through your life, your family. It causes endless worries and doubt, pain and anger in places you thought were not possible. It brings all your worst fears and nightmares to the surface.

My family and loved ones watched me prepare for my hair to fall out, and when it did, it was extremely difficult to look in the mirror. I started to loose weight, so much so that my face sunk in and none of my clothes fit, I was shriveling up from being sick. I am usually full of energy and life, but now I was tired, I would fall asleep in mid conversation with loved ones. The fatigue caused struggle in the mornings, getting my son ready for school. My life had changed, completely, on bad days I couldn’t keep up. I got sicker to try and get better, my son saw me differently as I struggled with a lack of energy, because of this disease, this cancer that had taken over my life. Although the struggles were fierce there was just as much love, and sacrifice came with that love.

It was found in my partner leaving work early and picking up the slack when I just couldn’t, he was there for our son when I wasn’t, on days that were my worst. It was found in my mom as she turned down a job to make sure she was available if I needed help with anything, including giving me my shots, in my legs when I couldn’t. It was found in my sister, the babysitter that didn’t need notice, who made sure that my son was looked after, when I couldn’t. It was found in my dad and step mom, doing whatever they could to help me while living on the other side of the country. It was found in my mother in law who was there to cook many meals for us, and was there to lend her ear in our numerous long talks. It was found in both of my neighbours and their families, who showed much love and support in so many ways, providing us with so many delicious meals and so much more. It was found in my best friend, she changed my bandages after my double masectomy so my partner didn’t have to see me like this, yet she was willing to help.

I am forever grateful and blessed for the people I have in my life and to you all, I couldn’t have done this without you. With my friends and family by my side they showed me how to grow that warrior inside of me, and showed me how to let her out. I am that warrior because I want to live, I will never give up, even when life knocks me down. I am a warrior because I have the love I need to help me stay strong. I am a warrior because I am me. Never be afraid to be bold, to be fierce, to be you!! Danielle