Angela was diagnosed with Stage 3 invasive mammary carcinoma in March of 2019 at the age of 39 after she went to the doctor for what she originally thought was a workout injury that never went away. Having no family history of cancer, her doctor told her it might be fibrosis tissue or cysts, but told her to have it checked as soon as possible. Angela went immediately to the imaging center that afternoon where a tumor was discovered in her right breast.
Her tumor was hidden by dense breast tissue which made imaging and diagnosing difficult. After several biopsies and an MRI it was determined that Angela was one of the small percentage to have synchronous bilateral breast cancer, basically cancer in both breasts at the same time. Even rarer it was discovered she had two different types of cancer. The right breast where she found the lump was diagnosed as ER+ and the left that was only detectable after an MRI was found to be smaller, but the more aggressive form know as Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Further testing found the cause of her cancer was a genetic defect as she tested positive for the BRCA1 mutation.
She then underwent 16 rounds of chemo, a double mastectomy where expanders were placed, 30 rounds of radiation to her entire chest wall and lymph nodes, a prophylactic hysterectomy and finally DIEP reconstruction. Six weeks into her recovery her left breast became infected and needed to be reopened to drain the infection. She then lived with an open wound for several months until it finally closed back on its own.
The thing that helped Angela most through her journey was writing about her experiences and sharing them with others. As she began to share her thoughts she made amazing connections with fellow cancer patients around the country and the world. People who were mere strangers are now lifelong friends who she would not have ever know had cancer not entered her life. She would have never wished for cancer, but she will forever be grateful for the people, lessons and experiences cancer has brought into her life!
Briefly describe your degree and any other highlights about your studies you want to share. Be sure to include relevant skills you gained, accomplishments you achieved or milestones you reached during your education.