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Melissa Diagnosed at age 25

"I am passionate about trying to spread hope and encourage others."


My breast cancer story started in May of 2011. It was Memorial Day weekend, and I was on a boat with friends and family. The water was rough, so I was holding my girls down when I felt a strange lump in my left breast. I didn’t think much of it. I mentioned it to my Mom a few weeks later, and she said to point it out to my doctor at my yearly gyno appointment. So in early July that’s what I did, well I didn’t really have to point it out, she felt it. I was then scheduled for a mammogram and ultrasound. It all came back abnormal so I was referred to a breast surgeon. I saw her about a week later. I almost went to that appointment by myself, I’m glad I didn’t. Because after looking at my scans my doctor came in to tell my Mom and I that there was a good chance it could be breast cancer. That’s when the world fell apart.

I was only 25. I had just moved in with my friend. I had just started dating my boyfriend, Matt. I had a job. I went out with my friends on the weekends. I had hopes and life dreams. I was a typical 25 year old and on July 21, 2011 I was told that I had Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer, borderline stage 3. My lump was around 3 inches in size. A few days later I went back to my surgeon. She had a plan of what was to happen next: surgery for a port, 16 treatments of chemo to shrink the lump, a lumpectomy, and radiation. I was trying to stay strong while she explained everything, but when my Mom, Dad, boyfriend and I got into the car I lost it. I was so mad. Why me? Why do I have to be going through this? Where did it come from? I have no family history. Why do I have to lose my long blonde hair?

This was not what a 25 year old was supposed to be having to deal with. But it was dealt to me and I had to deal with it and that is what I did. I cut my hair short and donated my ponytail to Locks of Love. Then a few weeks later I went ahead and shaved it off. I had a few wigs, but to me they weren’t comfortable and they made me really hot. So I wore head wraps and scarves to work, out to eat, all the time. I kept working. I had chemo on Mondays, usually in the afternoon, so I’d work in the morning, go to chemo, sleep at my Mom and Dad’s and then go into work late on Tuesdays.

I had my last chemo treatment 2 days after Christmas 2011. Best present ever! A few weeks later I had my very small lump removed. I was so happy to have this all behind me. I started radiation in May 2012, that was a breeze. Now I just see my doctors for routine checkups. I am NED. I married that same boy I had been dating and I could not be happier where I am in my life right now.

Are you a survivor, spouse, friend, or caretaker with a story to tell? We'd love to hear from you.