Stage IV breast cancer survivor: Look at your family history

Everyone on my father’s side of the family has died of cancer — my dad of prostate cancer, my grandpa of lung cancer, and my grandma of kidney cancer. So I always suspected I would get it someday, too. Still, it came as a shock when I was diagnosed with a type of breast cancer called infiltrating ductal adenocarcinoma last fall. I started feeling a lump in my left breast while nursing my son in July. I thought it was just a cyst, but even after I began weaning Braxon in October, it didn’t go away. In fact, the lump seemed to be getting bigger, so I called my gynecologist. Because the lump wasn’t hard, my doctor didn’t think it was anything bad initially. But he sent me for a mammogram and an ultrasound anyway. After looking at the scans, he ordered a biopsy. The lump turned out to be cancerous. My stage IV breast cancer diagnosis I work for Jason’s Deli, and we’ve been fundraising for MD Anderson for a few years, so I knew that’s where I wanted to go for my breast cancer treatment. I made an appointment right away at MD Anderson in Katy, because it’s the location closest to my home in Kyle, Texas. A PET scan there revealed that the cancer had already spread to my pelvis and spine. I had stage IV breast cancer. I don’t think I really understood what those words meant when I first heard them. But once I did, I was terrified. I was only 32. And I wanted to see my kids grow up and find out...