In February 2013, I found a lump in my breast when I was getting in the shower. Within 3 days, I wa diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I had a bilateral mastectomy, four and a half months of chemotherapy, and six weeks of radiation. I handled all treatments very well and was able to pick up my life and move on afterwards. I always worried about the cancer coming back, but not in the way it did.
In May of 2016, I started to notice my heart racing when I went upstairs. I had started taking an antibitoic so I blamed it on that. Then, I started getting large unexplained bruises and again, I explained it away by assuming it was the new mediciation. By the end of June, my fatigue was so bad and I had suffered a retinal hemorrhage. I went to my family doctor for blood work. That night, Hershey Medical Center called to say they got my blood results and they were getting a bed ready for me, I needed to come right in. The next day after a bone marrow biopsy, it was confimed that I had treatment related Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). I started in the induction chemo and it didn't work at all. That was my lowest point. We tried another chemo and waited nerviously for the results of the next bone marrow biopsy. Finally, it showed I was in remission. We could move forward with a stem cell transplant!
In October, I was admitted to the Hospital of the Univeristy of Pennsylvania to begin the transplant process. I was in the mid hospital for 4 weeks and it was the most diffuclt ordeal of my life. Yet, I'm aware how lucky I am that I made it through those critical first 100 days. I am continuing to do well, with a few hiccups here and there. I'm unbelievably grateful to my donor- a German man who I can hopefully meet 2 years after transplant. I never though I'd have cancer twice before age 40 but so far, I've survived and thrived despite it.