Tonya’s Story

Sep 8, 2020 | Survivor of the Week

November 2018, while in the shower, I found a lump in my right breast. I went for a mammogram and they did an ultrasound and said it was a cyst. They sent me home said women later in life get these and they go away. I was relieved and didn’t really think about it for another month.

That’s when I noticed it had gotten bigger. After New Year’s Day I made an appointment with my primary. He was concerned and sent me to have it drained. The 2nd ultrasound showed it wasn’t a cyst but that it was a mass! My stomach turned automatically. I wanted to cry. My aunt had breast cancer when I was younger and my grandmother had died from brain cancer.

They did two biopsies and sent me home to wait for results. That was the longest weekend of my life. I got a call to see a surgeon and ended up having a lumpectomy. Once I healed I was told to go see an Oncologist so I knew it wasn’t good. I was told it was Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage 2B. I did four strong chemo treatments every two weeks (Adriamycin/cytoxan, the red devil they called it), then fourteen treatments of taxol (once a week).

Took a break for a month then did thirty-five radiation treatments that burnt me pretty bad. In September of 2018 I was told I was cancer free! Best day of my life! Everything was good for a while untill August 2019. I was walking, like I do, in the morning and I got really short of breath to the point I thought I was going to pass out. It was so scary. I called my husband to come get me because I didn’t know if I could make it home, but I did. This kept happening more and more frequently, so I called the cancer center for an appointment.

They did a CT scan and called to tell me I had another cyst in my chest wall. I cried. Why was this happening again to me. I was depressed. All I did was cry. They sent me to a pulmonologist for a biopsy (bronchoscopy) this time. I was so scared. Another long weekend of worrying. Got the call that it was Squamous Cell Lung Cancer stage 4 and is inoperable because of the location. It is in the lining and lymph node area close to my heart. My heart has been racing a lot. The Oncologist said I was going to do chemo and radiation together this time.

I started treatments again January 2020. I did seven chemotherapy treatments (Carboplatin/paclitaxel) and thirty-five more radiation treatments. Now I’m done again and taking a break. With all the COVID-19 stuff going on it’s just crazy. Had a PET scan and now I’m good for a while again and had another survivorship appointment July 2020. I’ve been very blessed to get through this cancer this time around. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life. I’m a Survivor! God is Good!

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