On April 7, 2004 I was stressed out on a conference call for a high-paying job that I mildly liked when I got a beep from my call waiting. In that moment, my life changed and the stress I was feeling over some meaningless work project paled in comparison to the fear I felt upon hearing the doctor say, “Well, the biopsy showed the lump is breast cancer.” I was 33, single, and on the career fast track to somewhere I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go and now I had cancer.
That day feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago all at the same time. The lump that turned out to be cancer was a lump that I found on my own and one that the doctors did not feel for the two years prior during my annual exams. In fact, I had to hold their hand to show them exactly where the lump was for them to even notice it. Thankfully, I felt my boobies and I knew that this felt different. Unfortunately it WAS different, and fortunately it was caught early (Stage 1). Had I not been in touch with my body, who knows how many years it might have been until the lump was detected or just how far it might have progressed.
In the 7 years since my diagnosis, my life has changed dramatically. I started the Feel Your Boobies Foundation as a way to share my story with other young women. Running the Foundation is now my full time job and though it’s far from the high-paying job I left, it has resulted in saving other young women’s lives. I also went on to get married in 2008 to a childhood crush of mine and upon completing my 5 years of Tamoxifen, I got pregnant at the age of 40, gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Eli on February 1, 2011 and now enjoy the experience of breast feeding him and watching him grow.
If my story helps inspire just one young woman to start “feeling their boobies” or one young survivor to realize that there is life after breast cancer, then I have done something that feels like my life has had purpose. I read a quote a while back that said “Courage is not moving forward without fear. Courage is moving forward despite fear.” and I feel that this is how I would like to live my life while I’m here because you just never know what tomorrow might bring.