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Happy Birthday You Have Cancer

My story is about Attitude. Being diagnosed with breast cancer, I've found an attitude within myself that I never thought possible...bravery, courage, and patience all became part of my driven mentality to conquer this beast. It's reassuring to know how incredible one can truly become when you?ve been diagnosed with a life threatening disease.

Two weeks prior to my 25th birthday I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. This was not the first time that I've heard the awful 'C' word. I had adrenal cancer as a child. Despite deep urges to sit in my room and sulk for days, my attitude began to develop into the main tool I needed...here is the problem, what is the solution and let's get this fixed! My new found attitude is what brought me to the awareness I can beat this disease.

A month after my diagnosis things began to move quickly going from one test to the next to find out if the cancer had spread and what specific type I had. Luckily the cancer was secluded to my left breast and had not begun to spread to the axiliary lympnodes. With this knowledge at hand there was only one thing left to look at and that was my genetics .With a family history of cancer in the female lineage, I decided it was best to go through with a double mastectomy so I would never be confronted by this beast again. As this was the battle of my life I figured my breasts would be the only causality in this war and the scars I received were my battle wounds and a sign of victory.

I had to undergo chemotherapy for 18 weeks which wasn?t as bad as I thought. I began to make my chemo as a positive experience by planning the shaving of my head as if it was a party. Not only did I make it seem like a huge event I also took it to the next level and posted the whole thing on Youtube for all to join in the experience. At every treatment I would make it seem as if I was having the time of my life friends would come and hang out in the recliners next to me , maybe join me for lunch we basically tried to make it seem like a day at the spa without the pedicures or facial.

Cancer can turn your entire world upside down. I remember the day I was diagnosed, reading survivor stories and wondering how I would ever get through though this. And here I am today not only have I beaten breast cancer, I have beat thyroid cancer and skin cancer all since my diagnosis of Breast cancer. Cancer has become the most intimate thing I've gone through. I have shared my story and allowed everyone to fight the fight with me. I wouldn't want it to be any other way and with my army of amazing doctors at Broward Health and support behind me, I've been able to get through this with bravery.

Technology is amazing and they have found out why I have had so many cancers and I am only 26. I was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. It is a rare autosomal dominant hereditary disorder. Li-Fraumeni syndrome greatly increases my susceptibility to cancer.It is something that I will deal with the rest of my life. Statistics show that about 400 people from 64 families have this disorder in the United States. I just consider my self very special. I'm still trying to deal with every emotion that comes at me... fear, anger, sadness, disbelief, excitement now that treatment is over. I'm trying to realize that I don't have to fight every day. I can have "non-cancer" days when I don't think about it. It's saddening to give up your innocence at 26, but when you're stripped down to your raw self, without any hair, and with cancer, you find strengths you never knew you had. You develop relationships that are closer than you ever thought possible. You see love and support in those around you that overwhelm you at times. You become so proud of your family and friends. You meet others who inspire you and give a new meaning to the word, "strong." It's an amazing feeling to label yourself a"SURVIVOR."

Every person who walks in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event has a reason for walking - and every person touched by cancer has a story to tell. These stories remind us that the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event is more than a walk. It describes the progress we're making together to save lives and create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. Below are personal stories we hope will inspire you to join us in making strides to end breast cancer!

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