I began experiencing stinging pains in the 12 o’clock position on my left breast May 2013. I ignored it. A month and a half later, a lump appeared. It was about the size of a marble. I’ve had cyst in my breast my entire life, and since it was tender and painful, I thought that’s what it was. In early August, I was changing my bra in front of the mirror and glanced in the mirror. I was horrified to see I had a very large lump in that location and how much it had grown in only two months. It was visible without feeling it! I quickly made an appointment with my doctor. I had a mammogram, and the results came back normal. I then had an ultrasound, which didn’t reveal anything new about the mass either. After switching physicians, my surgical oncologist ordered an MRI; and the mass was 5 cm and growing rapidly. The MRI didn’t indicate cancer, but a biopsy was needed to confirm. I received my biopsy results on 9-13-13 stating cancer cells were found. I will never forget how I felt when I heard the word cancer. My world stopped. I thought about the fact I had been ignoring this for several months because it was painful and nothing about it indicated cancer.

I had a sentinel node biopsy a few weeks later. 15 nodes were removed; and cancer was found in 5 of them. I have invasive ductal carcinoma, triple negative. Because of the original size of the tumor and the fact that it was in 5 of my lymph nodes, I am stage IIIA. I’ve had 8 of 12 treatments of Taxol. After Chemo, I will have a full mastectomy followed by radiation and revision surgery. I have a long road ahead of me, but I remain strong for my children. Ladies, please do not ignore lumps because they seem to be okay. We do not all fit into a specific list of symptoms, and a few months can make a huge difference in your diagnosis and treatment options!

Teresa Trussell
Syracuse, OH
The Breast Cancer Site
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