Chrissy’s story

I promised to run this blog at least two more times in October in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Even if you’ve already read the blog, please use the “Leave a comment” or “Comments” link after the blog to list the first name or relationship (aunt, mother, sister, friend, grandmother, etc.) of anyone you know personally affected by breast cancer.  Let’s create our own tribute wall on the web for the entire world to see and show our support for those we care about.

Chrissy Wilson shares her story of being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 28, her story is awesome and I could have never done it justice.   Without further ado, in her own words, here’s Chrissy’s story: 

It all started with me touching myself!  Here’s the story…One evening while in the shower I decided to do a self breast exam.  I’m not sure why, I’ve done self exams in the past but I wasn’t good about doing them regularly, I’d probably read about them in a magazine earlier in the day.  When I crossed my right breast I had shooting pain and I could feel 3 knots.  I felt the left side and it seemed fine.  I’d never felt knots in my breast before but as I said I wasn’t good at doing the exam on a regular basis so I asked my husband, Jeremy, to feel them.  If anyone knows how my breasts feel, it should be him!  After feeling the knots himself he suggested that I see my family doctor who referred me for a mammogram.  At this point cancer was the farthest thing from my mind for a number of reasons. 1) It could never happen to me  2) I’m too young and there’s no family history  3) I had read, probably in the same magazine that recommend the self breast exam, that breast cancer isn’t painful. 

 I was anxious about my first mammogram, afterall, I was only 28 years old at the time and I had no reason to have a mammogram before.   I was worried that it would be painful, truth is it didn’t hurt a bit, maybe that was because I didn’t have much to hurt, who knows.  That same day, after my mammogram, it was recommended that I have an ultrasound but again, no big deal because I was told my breasts were dense since I was young.  I soon started to worry a little.  I was sitting in a hallway with a gown on watching other women leave after their mammograms and I started to wonder “why aren’t they having an ultrasound, they look young, aren’t all young breasts dense”.

 I sat and waited in that hall so long that Jeremy, who was in the waiting room asked the receptionist if I’d left the building.  If I knew what was ahead of me, trust me, I would have left that building!  After my ultrasound I was told I would need a biopsy.  I asked them if they thought it was cancer and that moment, for some reason, I knew the answer even though they said they were 99% sure it wasn’t.

On November 15, 2006 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage II Invasive duct carcinoma to be exact.  I was given two options, a lumpectomy or mastectomy.  I chose the mastectomy; in fact, I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy even though the cancer was only on one side. I felt that they came as a pair so they should go as a pair! 

On December 12, 2006 I had both breasts and 7 lymph nodes under the armpit removed.  One lymph node was involved and my cancer was found to be estrogen and progesterone receptor positive which means the cancer grows from these hormones.  After the surgery I began chemotherapy and had to do eight rounds, Cyclophoshamide with Doxorubicin the first 4 treatments followed by Taxol last 4.  I lost my hair and my breasts, but I never lost HOPE.

Over an 11 month time span I had 3 major surgeries;  mastectomy, breast reconstruction, and hysterectomy and with the hysterectomy I had my gall bladder removed because at this point my feeling was “If I don’t need it, take it out”.  I also had two procedures to place and remove a port used for blood draws and chemo administration. 

At the time I was diagnosed, my sons were 9 and 5 years old.  These two children saw more in a year than most see in a life time.  I never once tried to keep anything from them.  I believe what they saw and experienced has made them stronger and helped them become who they are today.  People tell me how strong I am, but really it’s my family who’s strong.  They’re the ones that got me through this.  I could have never done it on my own. 

I deal everyday with what breast cancer has taken from me.  I’m going through menopause due to my hysterectomy and the anti cancer drug, Aromasin, I now take.  I have Osteopenia (bone loss) which is a side effect of the Aromasin and I have to take Boniva for the bone loss.  As a result of the removal of my lymph nodes I struggle with Lymphedema which causes swelling and pain in my right arm and hand. I have man-made breasts, minus the nipples. That’s right, no nipples, a mastectomy really does take it ALL.  Breast cancer took a lot from me, but it DID NOT TAKE MY LIFE AND IT DIDN”T TAKE MY HOPE!!!

This was my journey and I’ve decided to take the bad and turn it into a positive.  I tell my story because someone reading this may someday hear “You have Cancer”.  Just like you I thought “it will never happen to me”.

 My hope is my story will encourage you to do your self breast exams and get regular mammograms, it could save your life. – Now go touch yourself!!!

About Craig Thompson

I am a young professional with two great sons, and I work in the healthcare setting. I am employed in hospital administration and serve as Chief Operating Officer at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton, Missouri. These are challenging and exciting times in healthcare and my blog will focus on healthcare, raising boys or being raised by boys, and living in mid America.
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17 Responses to Chrissy’s story

  1. T says:

    Thanks for sharing your story!
    Nancy Woirhaye & Geri Hauger – Breast Cancer SURVIVORS!!

  2. Chrissy says:

    Honor of Joyce and Iris
    Thank You Craig 🙂

  3. Linda Greer says:

    In honor or my mom, Nellis Estoppey and my sister, Sharon Blakey, both breast cancer SURVIVORS. Thanks, Craig for posting this and thanks, Chrissy for sharing your courageous story! Hopefully it will cross paths with someone who will read this before it’s too late.

  4. Kristen Bertz says:

    Great job Crissy.,,glad you’re around to do Tiger tailgating with us!
    Thank you Craig!
    Grandma Foster

  5. Sheri Stewart says:

    In honor of my grandmother, Nancy, who lost her battle with breast cancer.

  6. Kelsey Himes says:

    Thanks for sharing Chrissy! You are so brave!
    Lesley Street- Aunt
    Jenny Peters- friend
    both survivors!

  7. Amy says:

    In MEMORY of my mother, Cathy. Diagnosed in 2004, had 2 mastectomies with chemo and radiation, and fought her battle until May 4, 2010. Miss you Momma!
    Thank you, Chrissy, for your inspirational story. I am so honored to have had the chance to meet you and become your friend.
    And thanks to Craig, for allowing Chrissy to share her journey. I will continue to fight for a cure every day!

  8. Jeremy says:

    In honor of my wife Chrissy. She is my heart, my soul, my inspiration, and my best friend!
    Thank you for all that you are and all that you do for us.
    Love Me

  9. Carrie says:

    My Best Friend-Chrissy Wilson
    We love our “fighter”!

  10. sherry browning says:

    Chrissys mom i thank god everyday for healing my daughter. I went with her to chemo treatments it was like watching a flower wilt in front of you. No parent should have to go thru that it just broke my heart. I wished i could take her pain away. Thank you Chrissy for being a very special daughter you have so much to give and lots of life to live. With all my Love Mom

  11. Cassie Bragg says:

    TO MY HERO: Chrissy you were my hero as a little girl, as we grow older that statement takes on a new meaning! I am proud to say that I fight the fight with you to make sure other women don’t have to go threw what you did!!! For you who don’t know Chrissy personally this is the one statement I can tell you.

    Chrissy taught me even when you are at your worst the strength that you hold with in yourself can take you miles and to never let go of that hope! She makes me so proud every day and im so thankful shes in my life!

    LOVE YOU

  12. Meredith Cooper says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration to all women.

    In honor of my Aunt Suzie – survivor bilateral breast cancer.

  13. Jennifer says:

    In memory of my Aunt Rosie; Chrissy–truly inspiring!

  14. William Clifton says:

    I want to say thank you for being my friend. You have helped me more then you will ever know. All I can say is thank you so much

  15. Michale says:

    In honor of my mother, Donna McQueen who is a Breast Cancer Survivor -Stage 4 and to my aunt, Jan Day who is battling her second round of breast cancer. They are two of the bravest, strongest women I have ever known.

  16. Kristy Brzuchalski says:

    In honor of my best-friend,my mom Barbara, who is a breast cancer fighter. She was diagnosed July 2010. She will be done with chemo in January. She is counting the days. I love you mom!

  17. Blake and Madison says:

    In honor of our Nana, Barbara,breast cancer fighter. WE LOVE YOU!

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