I Had to Advocate For Myself to Eventually Get An MBC Diagnosis
On December 11, 2019, it was confirmed that I have an invasive form of breast cancer. It wasn’t until recently when they received my CT scan and X-ray results that it has travelled from my breast to my hips/spine and liver—deeming me metastatic (stage 4). EVERYTHING flashed before me–my young daughter, husband, family…I’m too young to die. I have way too much to live for.
It all started in last October when I went to the medical clinic with what I thought was mastitis. Being four months postpartum, it made sense. I was sent home with antibiotics that were supposed to start working within 24-48 hours. They did not. I then proceeded to go to the hospital emergency department to get checked out. I was guaranteed by the doctor that I saw that, “this is just your cysts stretching and irritating your breast”. I demanded an ultrasound referral to ease my mind.
A month later, I went to the Winchester Hospital for my appointment. They had found a new “unknown” object inside of my breast and sent me straight for a mammogram. After the mammogram, my doctor read the report from the radiologist “probably malignant: in keeping with inflammatory breast cancer.” I dropped. Even though a biopsy hadn’t been performed yet, I knew that the doctor was likely right because he had many years of experience. I feared the worse.
The week after, I was sent to the women’s breast health clinic in Ottawa, where I had a biopsy of my tissue. I remained optimistic but feared the worst at this point. The look on the doctor’s face when he was looking at my mammogram results, told the story – it wasn’t normal. It wasn’t okay.
My doctors and I are still trying to figure out how long I’ve been sick. Was it before I had my one-year-old, Eva? Was it before that? I’m hoping for some answers. The tumours in my spine do rule out my excruciating back pain, which my doctor had originally referred me to physio for. It’s SO FRUSTRATING having to be an advocate for yourself and being shrugged off because of age. I am only 28 years old, but I do have a lengthy family history of cancer.
At that time, my heart was completely shattered. This wasn’t how I pictured being a new Mom. I thought the first year of motherhood was the most amazing year of my life – having Eva and then moving into our beautiful new home with the love of my life. It quickly turned to the worst possible ending.
However, I am remaining optimistic. I am going to complete my treatments (chemo/hormone blockers to stop the spread) and I am going to kick the absolute shit out of this disease by trying as many things as I possibly can, to be around for as long as I can. I want to see my little girl grow up.
In the past two months, I have had an amazing response from my treatment plan of Ibrance, Letrozole and Zoladex. I have had absolutely no pain and haven’t had to take pain meds. I recently had a partial hysterectomy, so I do not need the injection anymore. I have been doing EXTREMELY well.
Again, I have hope. I have the best possible army behind me, and I will not fail. After all, I am strong and I will not let cancer define me. – Caitlin Jones