Lump to Laughter

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Renee-Aged 40

Your Story

My name is Renee Rodgers this is my Breast Cancer Survivor Story:

While in the shower I felt something odd in my right breast. It felt like a lump. I told myself it was nothing, for nearly a year. I spoke to a friend who encouraged me to go get it checked out. I was scared. I assumed what I did not know how it could hurt me. I sat doing paper work at my desk and the Today show was on a lady with stage 4 breast cancer and she was being interviewed. I felt the hair rise on the back of my neck and fear strikes my heart, a sense of panic.  The words of my friend and the present interview on TV sent me running for my Dr.

Well the day came I went for the mammogram. Wow!! That’s all I will say. I knew I was in trouble when they kept coming back doing more pictures, including a sonogram. I was starting to get scared. This was the spring of 2010.  My husband and I work on the beach, Our last child had moved out, a different era of my life was starting at this point and I had no clue I was in for the fight of my life.

My Dr. called us into his office and proceeded to tell my husband and I that I had breast cancer. I knew that was not the news he wanted to tell us. My Dr. made me an appointment with a breast surgeon.  This Dr. would be the person I was the most afraid of for the things he would tell me but later become someone I would grow to trust with my life.

I had to have a biopsy.  The morning came for this procedure. I had to be strong. Again I had no clue how strong.  This had to be done to determine the type of breast cancer I had. At this point I thought there was only one type.

I went to my appointment for my results of the biopsy. I had 2 lumps not one as thought. A tumor against my chest wall. I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I was ER/PR positive Her2 negative. My Dr. used words such as Mastectomy, Drain tubes Chemo, port for chemo, hair falling out, including other side effects. Radiation to chest wall to help prevent local re-occurrence. And I would need to take medication for 5 years since I was ER positive. These medications have life altering side effects also. Nothing comes without a price.

How did I feel: Scared to death!! My husband and I went home held each other cried. Weeks past and a lot of tears had been shed. Tormenting thoughts. I am going to die. I had to deal with my fear of what happens when I die, how did I want to be buried? Who was going to take care of my husband, kids business, I have so much left to do.

My Dr. called and got me in early for my surgery before the Memorial Day Holiday 2010.  I had my right breast removed, including 14 lymph nodes removed of which we would find out 2 were positive and I had a tumor that had broken out of the lymph node.

My husband, whom I thought before breast cancer was my best friend, showed me during this journey what unconditional love and commitment is; he was my primary care giver. He was at every Dr. appointment and the many surgeries, chemo treatment there were 6, radiation treatment there were 33.

When my hair started falling out he came home shaved my head and his. He fed me when I could not eat because of mouth sores and many, many more things. He still takes care of me because this journey is not over. I am not nor will ever be who I was before.

I spent the first months getting a diagnosis. Most of May 2010 getting surgeries ~ I had the mastectomy, my port put in and ovaries removed .From June 2010-October 2010 on chemo. From Nov. –December 2010 going to radiation treatments. I was tired, my memory not good. I spent the last year fighting to live, what would 2011 bring. It brought me days that I was still here among the living. Here loving my husband and kids. It also was a year of putting pieces back together, my bones and joints ached from the treatments and the medicine I am now taking .I wear a compression sleeve because I have a mild form of lymphodemia on the arm the lymph nodes were taken out of. I put on a lot of weight form the treatments I take. I just cut and colored my hair because it came in thank goodness but, different.

I thank God every day for the time he has given to me to be here.

2012 brought to me a new grandson who is 8 weeks old, my daughter and her husband moved home.  My son who is now 21, I got to see graduate from basic training and Air Borne school. So proud, so thankful.

I pray daily my medicines worked and that it does not come back.

My advice: See your Dr. Get your yearly physical, because what you do not know will hurt you. Cherish each day. Do something to make someone smile including you. Trust in God and pray.

I would like to thank all my friends and family for their love and support during this time. You know who you are.

Renee Rodgers

Age at Diagnosis
41 or Above
Year Initially Diagnosed
How Cancer was Found
Stage at Diagnosis
Type of Breast Cancer
Lymph Node Involvement
Lymph Node Dissection Type
Radiation Therapy
Hormone Therapy
Current Disease Status
Clinical Trial Participation
Treatment-Induced Menopause
Breast Reconstruction
Physical Therapy
Her2 Status
Hormone Status
Genetic Counseling

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