I am stage 4. There is no cure; it is simply about quality of life for me now.
On February 5, 2012 I found a couple of lumps in my right breast. Twelve days later, I was told it was cancer, and the whirlwind started. I went to the oncologist to discuss chemotherapy treatment and she told me we were not going to do that. I needed a double mastectomy instead as it was a very aggressive cancer that had metastasized to my bones in multiple places. I am HER2 negative and Estrogen positive. Not a common diagnosis. By August 17th, after a couple of surgeries, radiation for six weeks, medication to put me in menopause at age 41, and infusions every 4 weeks to keep my bones strong, the bone scan showed no evidence of cancer.
In 2014, I had a total hysterectomy since my cancer feeds off of estrogen.
Then, in January 2016, I found out the cancer was back in the bones in multiple spots. It had eaten a two inch hole in my hip and is in the sacrum. I began taking oral chemo and an estrogen blocker, along with receiving infusions for my bones.
I want to tell everyone:
You are stronger than you think you are.
You have to believe in yourself.
Yes, it's great to have support; however, the most important support you can have is you.
You have to keep your chin up and be happy.
Did I cry? YES! But I also was determined to stay strong as I have two young girls to raise and a husband.
Do I get sad? YES! But I don't let it hold me down.
I live my life. I survive.
I experienced what I call “the roller coaster of cancer.”
First came the diagnosis, surgery, and reconstruction.
I have the BRCA2 gene mutation.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2015. I was shell shocked but not really surprised. Cancer runs deep in my family.
My aunt, my inspiration, battled breast cancer three times before she lost her fight. I remember her doing chemotherapy on a Friday so she could recover on the weekend and go back to work with a wig so none of her coworkers would know. I pictured her smile and her strength - it got me through my fight.
As I mentioned, I experienced what I call “the roller coaster of cancer”. First came the diagnosis, surgery, and reconstruction. I had the BRCA2 gene mutation so I had an oophorectomy (surgery to remove my ovaries). I was borderline on the genetic testing they do to determine if you need chemo to reduce recurrence.
I chose to do chemo because I was strong and, outside of the cancer, healthy enough to fight hard. If the cancer comes back, I want to be able to say that I did everything the first time.
When I went to chemotherapy education, they mentioned that exercise is one of the best ways to fight fatigue. Being a group fitness instructor this struck a chord with me.
When I started chemo I worked out every day.
EVERYDAY and I recorded my exercise on YouTube so others fighting could work out with me.
I still record workouts and post them on YouTube. I want people to see that life is hard and You Are Stronger!! That is how Cancercize with Renee B became a thing.
I am working on getting my personal trainers license so I can work individually with chemo patients. I feel exercise is what got me through it.
Remember: YOU ARE STRONGER!