Welcome to My Personal Page
It all began on Monday, July 16, 2018. I had my yearly mammogram, just as I had done every year since I turned 40. The following day, I received a phone call saying that the picture wasn't clear and that I’d need to come in for an ultrasound on Friday. The results of the ultrasound were inconclusive. The inconclusive results required additional testing, which required another appointment. My next test was an aspiration and during that appointment it was determined that a biopsy was necessary, which led to more waiting. On Tuesday, July 31, with my mom and husband by my side, I received my results. It was breast cancer (stage 1, triple negative, invasive ductal carcinoma, grade 3). The three of us sat there completely shocked. It was hard to process. The imaging center had already set me up with a breast surgeon for a consultation. We met with Dr. Lipoff a few days later where we received more information and had more decisions to make. It was suggested that I get tested for the BRCA1 mutation. Two of my cousins had previously tested negative and everyone thought for sure that I wouldn't have it. Alas, another hurdle as I tested positive for the mutation. During this time I also met with Ruth from the Rays of Hope Research Center. After talking with her, I agreed to share what I could about my cancer journey and became part of the database of information. My hope with sharing what I could about my experience is that it would save someone else having to go through everything that I was going through.
Near the end of August, I had my lumpectomy, which made me cancer free! To lower the risk of cancer coming back, at the end of September, I received my port and I started chemotherapy. At first, my chemo infusions were every other week, then after Thanksgiving they became weekly. Friday, February 8, 2019, marked my last chemo treatment. I didn't wait around - one week later I had that port removed! At the end of May, I had a double mastectomy with reconstruction using my own belly fat. This was done to lower the risk of new breast cancer because I was BRCA positive.
While resting and recovering from my last surgery I decided that if the weather was good, I would try to participate in the Rays of Hope walk. I wasn’t sure how far I’d be able to walk, but I wanted to give it a try. I discussed it with my husband and we decided to sign up. As soon as we did, we immediately started raising money. On Sunday, October 27, 2019, I participated in my first Rays of Hope walk. It was cold and very rainy. I walked about 1 mile and raised $1,000. I loved the vendor tent and was looking forward to signing up for some activities once I finished recovering.
The pandemic hit before I could participate, but that wasn't going to stop me from raising money and getting ready for the next walk. On my second survivorship anniversary, I signed up for my second Rays of Hope walk and asked my friends and family to help me. With their amazing support I raised $2,000 in honor of my second anniversary!
I was bummed that the pandemic changed the walk but my husband, three kids and I walked 2 miles around Forest Park on the Saturday of ROH weekend and drove through the Parade of Hope on Sunday. Here's hoping that my third walk will be sunny, dry and back in person!Rays of Hope supports research at the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research, treatment programs and services through the Baystate Health Breast Network, outreach and education and awards grants to support complementary therapies throughout western Massachusetts.
Now for year 3 I hope to walk three miles and raise $3,000. I can’t do this alone – I need your help to reach my fundraising goal. There is strength in numbers and together we can make a difference. All funds raised remain local.
Please make a contribution toward my goal in support of such an outstanding organization. Your donation is fully tax-deductible.
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