Name: Catherine Jordan
Age: 36 (just celebrated my birthday)
Age when diagnosed with breast cancer: 35
Breast cancer type: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma ER/PR+ HER2-
Breast cancer stage: Stage 3 T3N2a
Treatment: Surgery (mastectomy with reconstruction), hormonal therapy, and cannabis oil to manage side-effects.
I refused radiation for several reasons. One being the surgeons and the oncologist have conflicting opinions on this, the number of lymph nodes that were involved were not at a high enough percentage for me, considering radiation would only reduce my risk of re-occurrence by 10%. The side effects and the general assumption from my first oncologist that I was going to do exactly what she told me, then when she went to set the appointment up they kept cancelling and she just assumed I was going to do it, so the last time the radiation doctor’s office called they wanted to confirm my start date. I also did my own research by asking those who had been through it before and their experience both pros and cons.*
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that has nothing to do with cancer:
I am always up for an adventure, whether it be a road trip with my boys, friends or just myself embracing every moment and seeing the positive side to life.
What’s your go-to pick-me-up song?
Further On – Bronze Radio Return
How did you discover your breast cancer?
I was showering when I dried off I asked my husband to check it out, we both were trying to figure out what I did. We live on a farm so a lot of manual labor so I thought I just bumped something hard and was bruised. Honestly I never thought it would be cancer
What went through your head when you received your diagnosis?
It was a blow to the stomach. The first question out of my mouth was “What is my next step?”, my doctor told me a Nurse Navigator would be in contact with me and she was later that day. I knew as soon as I was done talking with the doctor that I was having a mastectomy with reconstruction when I told the nurse navigator this she immediately scheduled an appointment with a surgeon and plastic surgeon.
What’s the craziest thing someone said to you after being diagnosed with breast cancer?
There was lots! One that sticks out is “Don’t worry it is just a tumor, once you have surgery there will be nothing to worry about.” Well after all said and done a 12cm tumor along with 4 out of 20 lymph nodes was something to worry about.
Who or what is/was your biggest source of support throughout your experience with cancer?
My boys (husband and two sons 8&5) they have been with me through it all and are so positive and always there to help or read me stories. They were the reason I got up in the morning and made the most of every moment with them and still do. My boys were always there to assist me or cheer me on, I am truly thankful for them.
What is/was the most difficult part of being a young woman with breast cancer?
The most difficult part was not having another young woman who was/is or had gone through this. I live in a rural community and even our cities support wasn’t geared towards young women. I will say though I am very lucky to have doctors and nurses that are taking my tough questions and finding answers or referring me to those who would be better able to answer my questions.
What’s something unexpected you learned about yourself as a result of having breast cancer?
I reconnected with nature, I grew up on a farm and venturing through valleys, hiking in the mountains and just being outdoors. I have been able to find myself, my true inner self again and life is a lot better.
In one sentence, what words of wisdom would you pass on to another young woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer?
Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be.
*The profiles published on www.rethinkbreastcancer.com are from young women with breast cancer and are unaltered by Rethink Breast Cancer. The decisions and treatment plans discussed are not endorsed by Rethink Breast Cancer.
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