In Latanya’s words:
“I had no intentions of getting a mammogram until I turned 40 years old. Last year I became concerned when the itching sensation in my right breast became increasingly more intense. Still I ignored these symptoms for months thinking it would eventually subside. Then one day I noticed a discharge from the same breast. My husband encouraged me to call my doctor and I immediately made an appointment.
The nurse practitioner at the gynecological practice I go to took my concerns seriously and recommended that I get a mammogram. I did and found out I had microcalcifications in my right breast. The doctor explained that in most cases microcalcifications are noncancerous but recommended that I get a biopsy to be sure.
I followed through with the biopsy and anxiously waited for the results. On August 9, 2012, I received a phone call at work from the doctor explaining that microcalcifications were signs of ductal breast cancer. He comforted me by explaining that the cancer was found early and was treatable. Here I was 38 years old with no history of breast cancer in my family. I was completely shocked and blind-sided by this news. I was supposed to run my second half marathon that September and everything came to a halt.
I elected to have lumpectomy and learned that my breast cancer was invasive. I went from stage 0 to stage I but thankfully the cancer did not spread to my lymph nodes. The type of breast cancer I had required me to have two rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, one year of Herceptin, and five years of Tamoxifen. I had so many fears and concerns about the treatments. I worried about how this would affect my husband, children, and job. I immediately requested a second opinion and decided to continue my treatment at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
I started my treatment in October 2012 with a positive attitude. There were many days I cried my eyes out, but I always reminded myself of how blessed I was to find my cancer early. I continued to work throughout my treatments. Working really helped me to focus on something other than the treatments. I leaned on my faith, family, friends, and cancer survivors for support. I was so touched from the all the prayers, kind thoughts and gestures I have received. In May I finished up radiation, ran the Broad Street Run 10 miler, received the Unsung Hero award at work, and participated in my first Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure. Now I’m back training for the half marathon I missed out on last year.
I still have 5 more months left of my Herceptin treatments but my life is pretty much back to normal and it feels great!”
Submitted by Lindsay Hamilton Photography