Today’s post comes from Tracie Benjamin who was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year at the young age of 30 years old. She and her boyfriend recently made national news with their viral video. Truly heartwarming.
Tell us about the day you discovered the lump in your breast.
It was a dark, cold morning in January and I was hitting the sleep button on my alarm clock. I happened to roll on my side and felt a lump close to my rib cage near my left breast. I had never felt this before. Instantly, I had a deep down feeling that something was not right. I was wide awake at this point and my anxiety kicked in 100%.
What was your diagnosis, moreover, your reaction?
When I heard the words, “Your results came back and you have breast cancer”, it was as if a veil was pulled over my face. From that point on many things were blurry. However, I distinctly remember asking, “what is next, what do I need to do.” I was extremely proactive, with the knowledge that catching this disease early is key to survival.
You were diagnosed earlier this year, what kind of surgery or treatment have you undergone so far?
I was diagnosed in April 2013 and underwent a bilateral mastectomy about a month after my diagnosis. Additionally, I underwent an egg retrieval and started chemotherapy in late June. My last chemo treatment was on October 2nd!
What made you decide to undergo an egg retrieval?
I froze my eggs, as I am only 30 with no children. 63 eggs were retrieved and 49 were mature and frozen….numbers that are unheard of in the fertility industry! My lower half is all about over-achieving! Ha! Making up for the upper-half
I’ve seen your Facebook and I kind of love your photos from the infusion chair; all smiles and showing with your fingers what number chemo treatment you were on. Talk to me about the challenges of chemo.
I have gained about 20 pounds, due to chemo slowing my metabolism and my lack of exercise. That is okay though, weight is reversible!
How has having breast cancer moved your forward in your life?
This process has been eye-opening. I have become closer to my mother which is something I was always lacking in my life. I have met so many wonderful, strong women. This process has certainly tested my relationship with my boyfriend of six-and-a-half years and we are passing with flying colors!
I would say things are going pretty well with your boyfriend! I think I saw a video…
At last month’s Race for the Cure, I was being interviewed on live television by Portland’s local news station KATU and my boyfriend came up on stage and proposed to me!
At a time in life where a woman feels insecure (no hair, weight gain, etc.), for a man to propose to her, is the best feeling ever! I am so blessed! I hope our story will give other women hope that life goes on and can still move forward when you go through something like this!
Watch the proposal here:
Tracie co-founded the organization Pink Cells which helps to alleviate the financial stress during treatment for breast cancer by covering three months cellular bill cost. Apply to determine your eligibility or sign up here to sponsor a survivor in need.