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Carolyn Davis’ Story
I’d like to contribute my story ❤️
My story is a little different as I was eight months pregnant with my third boy when my breast cancer presented itself. This pregnancy was much like the last except I was beyond exhausted constantly. I had to stop working 5 months into my pregnancy because I was falling asleep at my desk. At eight months pregnant, I was in the shower and the inside of my nipple fell out..... onto the shower floor, I actually had to pick it up and look for a minute before I realized what it was. Cancer was the furthest thing from my mind. I saw my OB shortly after and showed her and she was concerned and said if that’s not cleared up in a couple of weeks, we need to have a closer look. That was the last time I her as I had my baby, Joey shortly after. I had my 6 week post check up with my family doctor and it was dismissed as a breast feeding issue. I was now a very busy mom of three boys, breastfeeding as I had on my first two. My nipple did not get better. I’d been to my doctor a few times and had used creams and ointments. My doctor referred me to a dermatologist. The dermatologist said that I needed a mammogram. When I arrived to have my mammogram, I was turned away because I was breastfeeding and an ultrasound was scheduled instead. By this time, (around July 2015), I requested to speak with a surgeon because google had scared me to death. According to google, I had Paget’s disease which is a cancer that normally occurs in older post menapausal women.......I was only 37. I knew there had to be a tumour somewhere in my breast. My two youngest children refused to nurse from my left breast and would scream bloody murder if I’d attempt to feed them from that side. I had an ultrasound where they examined my nipple only and did not ultrasound my full breast. I saw the surgeon who said they found nothing and to come back in 4 months if this does not resolve. I went home from that appointment very frustrated. I made another appointment with the surgeon but this time I brought my google research.....from the National Cancer Institute, and I said I believe I have Paget’s disease and presented my google case. I requested to have a nipple biopsy, to look for Paget cells. She agreed.
On September 11, 2015, I had an appointment scheduled to get my results. I was at home that morning with my three year old and nine month old who I was still breastfeeding from the right side, when my phone rang. I answered and said, Oh, hello I’m coming in to see you this afternoon.” She replied, “No need, it’s a good thing we did this test because it’s positive for Paget’s disease, so I’m going to schedule another ultrasound to look for a tumour in your left breast. Someone will be in contact with your appointment time.”
When I hung up the phone, I called my husband who was working in Come by Chance and I told him, “She just called me, I have cancer.” He said, “I’m on my way.” My second call was to my mother, I don’t remember making this call, next thing I knew my mom was at my door very confused. Then after further testing discovered a tumour deep in my left breast. I was scheduled for a bilateral mastectomy November 2015. I also had a lymph node positive which also meant chemo and radiation. I was already ten months in and my journey had really just begun.
I started chemo in January. Six rounds. My first chemo had made me neutropenic so every white blood cell in my body was killed and I had a lovely week stay at St. Claire’s. Round two of chemo, my port had twisted and so it was not accessed properly and my first dose went through my tissues. Would you like to discuss indigestion and heartburn like you’ve never felt before?? Round 3 my port had to be accessed by ultrasound so I got a new pic line instead. Round 3 went smooth until I developed a bad cellulitis on my chest wall and had another stay in the hospital. My next rounds were delayed until my infection had cleared. Rounds 4, 5 and 6 went without a hitch. Then after completing chemo I had an 8 week break and did 24 rounds of radiation. It came out through my back, it was as if someone had taken a blowtorch and melted my armpit and part of my chest. I slept through that week of healing because if I looked at it or thought about it I would get sick, but I got through it.
Everyday, I knew I had 3 children and a husband that depended on me. My mother doted over me like I was a small child again unable to take care of myself at times, she took care of us all. ♥️ Tamoxifen has taken its toll and I’ve discontinued it. I have had reconstructive surgery so my body feels somewhat normal again. I’ve struggled with infection after infection. I had strength I didn’t know existed. I’m looking forward to September 2020 when I can officially say I am cancer free. I will fight every day to see my family grow.
Life is precious. ♥️❤️