HER-2+ breast cancer survivor: Why I chose MD Anderson

Growing up in Texas, living in Houston and having several family members who’d battled cancer, I was very aware of MD Anderson and its reputation. So when I found out I had breast cancer in 2013, I was relieved to learn it could be treated near my home, at MD Anderson in The Woodlands. As people often do with big events, I can still remember the details vividly. It was around midnight, and my husband and kids were asleep. I’d just finished cleaning the kitchen, and the last thing on my to-do list was a monthly breast exam. Once the water was running in the shower, my hand immediately went to a spot on my left breast. It felt like a frozen pea. Something in me knew what it was, though I hoped I was wrong. I sat in my towel on the side of the bathtub for a long time, looking up things on my phone. It was hard to get any sleep. The next day, I saw my gynecologist, and the whirlwind began. A breast cancer diagnosis When my doctor confirmed my suspicions, I was heartbroken: I had breast cancer — stage IIA invasive ductal carcinoma. I thought about my two young children and how I’d watched my own mother die of lung cancer at age 52. I envisioned the same thing happening to them. I wept for what their lives would be like with a sick mom — or even with no mom at all. After those first couple of days, though, I resolved to fight and win. A cancer diagnosis did not have to be...