September 24, 2012 – that’s the day the rug got pull out from underneath me. Or, for the sake of positivity I’ll say the day I started my magic carpet ride. I couldn’t have been more shocked or scared when Dr. Funk came in the room and said, “I’m so sorry, you have invasive breast cancer.”
At only 33, with 3 small babies, I was beyond devastated. The diagnosis was stage 2 and BRCA 1 gene positive. I scheduled a double mastectomy immediately and began my fight. I’ll never forget the night before holding my infant son against my chest knowing I’d never feel that sensation the same way again. But with determination, I knew that I would be holding him and my girls for decades to come. With my rock of a husband Brandon by my side we entered the battle.
Surgery was difficult and recovering with 3 babies at home was beyond chaos, but we pushed on. What followed was 6 months of chemotherapy and hormone therapy as well as a few reconstructive surgeries. I must admit, the reconstructive parts were my favorite – I finally got to shop at Diane’s and fit fabulously into all the bikini tops! You have to find some silver linings along the way. Anyone up for a Vegas trip?
After about 2 years of remission things were settling down for us and I was coping with the emotional part of having had cancer. I noticed I was losing some weight and feeling different sensations in my chest. At a routine check up, a tumor was discovered in my lymph node. I was crushed.
I felt like I would lose hope. Somehow I mustered the strength to move on, to be back at it again with the will to live. And I am grateful for everyday, grateful for my husband and babies I love so much. There was no way Mommy wasn’t going to kick cancers butt!
The day before my lymph node removal, I rode an hour at the 2015 Tour de Pier as part of the Julie’s Angels team. It was super motivating for me and was just what I needed to get back into battle. I cried and rode, watching survivors on stage and knowing I could be there too! The next day I had 16 nodes removed – fortunately only one had a tumor!
Following that surgery I had 6 weeks of radiation and then an oophorectomy to remove all estrogen from my body. I’ve spent the last 6 months recovering, coping with my changing body and enjoying my family. Now I truly feel and know I’m cancer free. So let’s all join together and kick cancer!! I’m preparing for this May’s ride and I’m thrilled to be riding as a survivor!!!
More about her story: Flourish with Candice