My Cancer Journey

Nov 03, 2021 | Stories

My Breast Cancer Journey

Hanna-Marie lives in Houston, Texas. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2020. This is her story in her words.

I was diagnosed with a type of breast cancer called triple positive invasive ductal carcinoma on Dec. 15, 2020. I had no family history.

I found a mass in mid-September 2020 that felt like a pencil eraser. During this time, I was having horrible nausea and pelvic pain weeks after my cycle and ovulation period. This was out of the norm for me, even during my cycle. I was one of the lucky ones with no cramps or nausea.

I went to the OBGYN in late September to discuss the nausea and pelvic pain and totally forgot to discuss the mass. I received a pelvic ultrasound and was told there weren’t any abnormalities. My well women’s exam was due in late October, so I waited until then to alert my doctor about the mass. Her saying is, “If you feel something, we without a doubt do a mammogram.” I’m 35 years old, so I had never received a mammogram before.

Due to work schedule and scheduling with the imaging center, I didn’t get the mammogram until November 2020. I received a mammogram and a breast ultrasound. Three masses were discovered that required a biopsy, which I had in early December. A week later the biopsy results revealed:

  • Estrogen receptor-positive
  • Progesterone receptor-positive
  • Her2-positive
  • Ki-67-80%

The best advice I can give to someone newly diagnosed is to:

  • Take it one step at a time. It can be overwhelming to hear you need chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy. After treatment, there’s hormone therapy for years. Don’t think about the next step until it’s time.
  • Take time to review your health insurance benefits—you would be surprised at what things can be covered with a cancer diagnosis. For instance, acupuncture wasn’t covered with my plan unless there was proof of a chronic illness such as cancer.
  • Trust your gut and don’t be forced into something that doesn’t feel right for you.
  • Advocate for yourself—no one else will take care of you like you can. Speak out of something isn’t right and remember: closed mouths don’t get fed.
  • Don’t be scared to ask questions!

As of August 2021, I am Cancer Free!

Statements and opinions expressed are that of the individual and do not express the views or opinions of Susan G. Komen. This information is being provided for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Persons with breast cancer should consult their healthcare provider with specific questions or concerns about their treatment.