I met Amanda-Mae after she found my blog on Google. Here is her story…
Tell us your story / stats:
I was 28 in February of 2017 when I was diagnosed with stage 2, Grade 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I first noticed my lump 5 months prior to diagnosis, but kept brushing it off as a clogged milk duct. My son was only about 4 months old when it popped up and had a serious struggle with breastfeeding, so it was totally logical to me. (P.S., that was not actually logical – it kept growing, hurting and was not at all “normal” for me – should have checked that out a lot sooner! But yanno, hindsight…)
What went through your head when you were first diagnosed?
My first thought was that I was going to die. I really, really thought I was going to die…and soon. Maybe a week, a month, but definitely within the year. I spent every waking moment on Google reading statistics and every other scary thing I could find.
Tell us about your support system. Or lack of. Where do you get your support from?
My support system was absolutely incredible. My boyfriend, his family, my family, my coworkers…all of our friends…everyone was just so amazingly helpful and caring. There were people I haven’t talked to since childhood and people I’ve never talked to *at all* offering to do anything they could to makes things easier for us. All of those people kept my head above water through the hardest parts of treatments.
What do you believe is a common misconception about being diagnosed? Or something that you’d like the general population to know about C.
Susceptibility and survivablity. I think those are huuuge misconceptions. I ignored the most prevalent sign that something was wrong because I had the ill-conceived notion that I was “way too young”. I was petrified when I was diagnosed, but prior to that any time I ever heard of someone having breast cancer, “death” was never what went through my head. It was usually a self contained comment in my head of- “wow that sucks, but at least she won’t die”. I’m mad at myself for ever thinking that and I’m mad that I wasn’t alone in those thoughts. Breast cancer absolutely DOES kill. Young and old, male and female, it can kill you. I’ve seen that a lot, too much actually…
Would you like to share one of your shittiest moments/memories? The raw side of C.
Hands down, the hardest thing about all of the C stuff…was doing it while I had a baby at home. Not the exhaustion part, but the mommy-baby connection with my own child. In my mind, there was no way in hell I was going to luck out enough to survive. And since I was going to die anyway, I wanted my son to be affected as little as possible. His dad did everything for him. Bath time, wake ups, night time feedings….I tried to make sure he wouldn’t realize I was gone when it finally happened. That part still kills me. I still have a really, really, reaaally hard time with that. If I could go back in time, I would have done the exact opposite, but it was so hard to see anything positive happening at the end. I missed a lot, nearly everything, of my first and only son’s “babyhood” because I didn’t want him to be sad and confused and searching for me when I was gone.