When Leslie saw her doctor about a lump in her breast in 2009 it luckily turned out to only be a cyst. It was around this same time her doctor encouraged her to undergo BRCA testing because her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27. She eventually learned that she was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene mutation and filed that info under “Things To Take Care Later.” Not long after, she discovered another lump and convinced herself it was just a cyst again.
GIVE US AN UPDATE ON YOUR HEALTH
The end of September will be my fourth year of living with Stage IV breast cancer and two years of no evidence of disease.
For the past six weeks, I have developed a severe rash over my radiated area and I was finally able to get in to a dermatologist who believed I have what is called radiation recall. Radiation recall can occur during radiation, or years later. This has been a very frustrating time for me as I have been in an out of the emergency room and no one seems to know how to treat it except for steroids.
I have been getting an Xgeva injection for the past year every three months and the side effects have been miserable. Fortunately, after much convincing to my oncologist she said I could stop taking this particular chemotherapy.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PRESCRIPTION?
Although this is a cliche, laughter truly does help. When everything gets to be too much my sister will crack a joke completely off the wall and sometimes you just have to laugh until you cry.
Aquaphor is definitely your friend through radiation.
A bald head is awesome! For a brief time, you don’t have to worry about styling, curling, hair cuts etc!
TELL US SOMETHING AWESOME.
This past May I went back to work! After being a stay-at-home mom for seven years, and then the diagnosis I decided I needed to do more than just sit around my apartment. I was only able to work a few hours at a time because the inflamation in my foot was unbearable, however three months later I’m pulling 9-10 hour shifts! I absolutely love my job and the people that come into my store. I’ve met fellow breast cancer survivors and always give a hug when they come through my line.
Sharing my story has also allowed me to give back. If I can help just one woman feel better about their own cancer diagnosis, then it’s worth it!
It was definitely difficult to believe there was life after the chemo, radiation, surgeries, but I am living proof you can beat Stage IV breast cancer!
Personal photos courtesy of Leslie Jones