life as it was...
I grew up in Rochester, NY (love the snow) and moved to London, UK right after graduating from high school. I ended up staying there for 9 years, and talk about it far too often. But I like to think I grew up there somewhat, and London is never far from my mind. In 2014 I decided to move to Baltimore, MD for work.
As unique of a snowflake that I may think I am, I was pretty run of the mill in most aspects of life. I travelled often, drank socially (and sometimes emotionally, at home, alone, whatever) and exercised inconsistently. I adopted a dog, Chewie, and he continues to be my knight in furry armor.
life when it shattered...
Anddddd then I found a lump. I was taking a shower on November 6, 2016 when I noticed a lump in my left breast after going through a self exam. I immediately called my doctor. I was able to see him that day, and while he did his best to placate me, he recommended an ultrasound as soon as possible. That appointment was scheduled for 10 days later, and thankfully, I had a trip happening during that time and so the lump was bid farewell.
After a wonderful week of road tripping around Iceland with friends and playing mermaids in natural baths, it was time to face the wand. It was me and about 5 other older ladies in the waiting room, each one of them looking at me with a pity I didn't quite understand yet. Then, in I went for my first ultrasound. Then a mammogram. Then a second mammogram. Then a second ultrasound. Then a third mammogram. Then a room with a doctor whose name I can't remember as she handed me some tissues and told me I'd be there awhile. Then the biopsy happened. Then another mammogram and 7 hours later I got to go home! The radiologist told me I would get a call in 4-5 days but no matter what "just keep putting one foot in front of the other". Somehow still, I didn't quite get what was happening.
They called me the next day, it was cancer. I met with my breast surgeon shortly after that and the whirlwind began.
treatment as it was...
At the ripe old age of 29 I was diagnosed as having stage 2A (no lymph node involvement) ER/PR + and HER2 + breast cancer. Because of the HER2 expression, I would go through chemo first, before surgery. But first first, I went through fertility treatments, egg harvesting and having my port placed. Plus you know, all the other 500 tests I had to go through.
Then I went through 6 rounds of TCHP chemo, followed by a bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy with expander placement. 4 months after the mastectomy, I had reconstruction surgery to put my implants in. And that brings to me to the present. Should you want any details on the above, I did a pretty thorough run through on my Instagram, and the whole story is there @jenhods.
life as it is now...
Following my implant surgery, I had to wait two months before resuming physical activity. And my body has suffered for it. That's when I decided to run in the 2018 Chicago Marathon. And then immediately regret signing up for the 2018 Chicago Marathon. The training alone seemed like the impossible.
But I've spent the last year of my life fighting the side effects of the various methods used to save it, and I'd like to focus on a challenge completely within my control.
The loss of control is one of the biggest things to deal with when going through treatment. And it doesn't end when treatment does, it's a forever grey period that I must accept, etc etc, emotional stuff.
So that brings me to the here and now. I'm spamming Instagram, talking about my dog, running and answering questions about breast cancer.