#YWBC Profile: Melissa
Occupation: Early childhood educator
Age when diagnosed with breast cancer: 30
Breast cancer type: triple negative
Breast cancer stage: stage 2
Treatment: chemo, surgery and radiation
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that has nothing to do with cancer: I enjoy spending time with my two beautiful boys who definitely keep me busy and distracted. I love to work out and stay fit. I’m very crafty and enjoy anything related to event planning, decorating and painting.
What’s your go-to pick-me-up song? Right now I just listen to a lot of old school music from my favourite singer, Madonna. I also love listening to house music from Hardwell. I don’t have a particular pick me up song. Any song that has a good beat just makes me move.
How did you discover your breast cancer? I found the lump myself. I noticed it 2 months before being diagnosed but thought it could be a cysts. So I waited and monitored it and it wasn’t going away. It just didn’t feel right, not like my other cysts.
What went through your head when you received your diagnosis? “Why me?” Was the first thing that came to my mind. I was only 29, and I finally felt I had my life all together and now I was faced with another challenge. I thought I’m so young and I want to be around to watch my babies grow.
What’s the craziest thing someone said to you after being diagnosed with breast cancer? I was told by a friend who had a different type of cancer not to do chemo. She referred me to a lady who treats her clients with natural remedies (Even though chemo is what helped her cancer).
Who or what is/was your biggest source of support throughout your experience with cancer? My Family and Friends!!! They have all been there since day one. Coming to my appointments, bringing me food and gifts, watching my boys, etc.
What is/was the most difficult part of being a young woman with breast cancer? Feeling like your whole life is now stressful forever. Constantly worrying that it will come back since I’m so young. Watching my friends as they build their lives with their loved ones without stressing about their health and enjoying their young years. No one truly understands what I’m going through. Having young children too and being diagnosed is so hard. You stay strong for them but at the same time you wish someone was always around to help out with the housework, homework, etc.
What’s something unexpected you learned about yourself as a result of having breast cancer? I see life in a different way. Each day for me is a blessing. I’ve learned that my mind is such a powerful tool, and anything I put into my mind I do. I’m stronger than I thought which has been great during my treatments
In one sentence, what words of wisdom would you pass on to another young woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer? It sounds so scary when you first hear those words come out of the doctors mouth. It definitely gets better with time and you learn to accept it. The best advice I have is always be positive and live your life like you normally would whenever you can. Dwelling on negativity doesn’t help during the process, only makes the situation worse. It’s tough but we are strong and determined. Celebrate each milestone during your treatment. Celebrate your last chemo, goodbye to your tatas, when you are done radiation and finally cancer free. All those are celebrations so enjoy it with those you love.
For more on what it means to be young and have breast cancer click here.