#YWBC Profile: AnnMarie
Occupation: Community Manager at Wisdo.com
Age when diagnosed with breast cancer: 40 Breast cancer type: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Breast cancer stage: Stage 1
Treatment: lumpectomy, mastectomy, radiation
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that has nothing to do with cancer: I am undeniably sarcastic, it is almost impossible for me to not be. I crack jokes all the time because laughing is just the best. I love a good can of cheeze whiz and crackers on the beach cause let’s face it that is FUN!
What’s your go-to pick-me-up song? “My Hero” by the Foo Fighters. I just love it. I have respect for everyday people they are the true rock stars.
How did you discover your breast cancer? I was in bed and rolled over and felt a lump. Having dense breasts I sort of rolled my eyes. Then I pressed it and black discharge came out. I felt sick to my stomach.
What went through your head when you received your diagnosis? Sh#*! I was more scared for my children than anything else. How was I going to tell them? How were they going to react? And my dad and husband? I had many that relied on my and I was so worried about how they would get through this.
What’s the craziest thing someone said to you after being diagnosed with breast cancer? “I have the cure for cancer. Come to my house I will give you 2 pills and you will be cured”. Now mind you this was a stranger who got my phone number. It was so insane to me that he thought I would actually come there and that he had the cure!
Who or what is/was your biggest source of support throughout your experience with cancer? My kids and husband would be the first answer. But truth is my support came from strangers online who I met. They understood on a level that only those with breast cancer could. I would have crumbled without them. Still I lean on them 4 years later.
What is/was the most difficult part of being a young woman with breast cancer? Having my breasts removed. It is life altering. Breasts do not define you but the are part of you. I felt such a loss from having them amputated one no one prepared me for. I had a very hard time looking at myself in the mirror.
What’s something unexpected you learned about yourself as a result of having breast cancer? That helping others would be my therapy. I need to help others diagnosed, show them one side to this disease that may connect them. I need to feel not alone. I thought I was the type of person that could stand all by myself when the truth is it is scary. I need them just as much as they need me.
In one sentence, what words of wisdom would you pass on to another young woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer? Do not look back you are not going that way.
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