One Day at a Time on My Journey
By Sonja Brady, 31 years old
Fort Campbell, Kentucky
As far as my cancer goes, I feel like the last 2 1/2 years of my life have been consumed by it. May 1999, I was 29 years old. I noticed I continually had discharge from my right breast. It took several trips to the doctor to convince him to look a little further into the situation. I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ. I was told that this type of cancer was relatively easy to treat, and that I would need to have a mastectomy, but no radiation or chemo. After the mastectomy, I had two more surgeries for reconstruction. This procedure was finished in March 2000. I went about my life once again.
In November 2000, I noticed my right breast was a little sore and red, and there was a rash on it. I went to see the doctor, and he put me on antibiotics, then more antibiotics, then topical cream. Nothing seemed to make a difference. The surgeon thought that perhaps my silicone implant was leaking so I went to the hospital and had a breast MRI. The results were not a leaking implant, but instead, I was told I could have cellulitis or a recurrence of my ductal carcinoma in situ. A biopsy was done, and I was told two days later that I had cancer again … but that this time it was Inflammatory Breast Cancer, a very aggressive, serious breast cancer.
I don’t think I could have been more devastated. I immediately saw my oncologist who explained that I would need scans to make sure that it was not anywhere else in my body; it was not. But, going from having the most curable type of breast cancer to the most rare and aggressive type was hard to deal with.
Since that time, I have had 3 rounds of adriamycin/cytoxan chemo, surgery to remove the implant and the rest of my skin around it. This required a skin graft to close the area. I am currently doing Taxol. I have had 3 rounds already, and I have 3 more to go. This will be followed by 33 treatments of radiation.
I am embarrassed to say that I really have not researched IBC much because I am truly scared. It’s not that I don’t want to be informed, but I have a hard time not worrying about myself. I have two small children, 8 and 4. I work 24-hours a week as a commissary cashier, I am an army wife, and my life is truly, like most others’, non-stop. With my life as busy as it is, I don’t have much time to worry, and that’s how I like it.
My doctor says I should make a full recovery. I know my life is completely in God’s hands, and that’s what keeps me going. I think my sister and my mother worry more about me than I do. They get much more involved in cancer research and support groups. Without them in my life, I don’t know what I would do. I have lots of friends and other family members who are a great support also. Right now I am just taking my life one day at a time because that’s all I know how to do.
Story Submitted 2001