My Diagnosis- Breast cancer My health wake up call.

On January 6th - 2021

I was lying in bed at night . Just by fluke did a breast check... I had been having sharp pains in my left breast on and off a couple months prior. back in October of 2020. The pains were on and off so I thought nothing of them. I was a teacher in cosmetology so my arms were up at shoulder level most days checking haircuts and teaching students.

I Found a lump! and I was like oh no this is not a good sign. It was in my left breast , that breast had given me troubles when I was pregnant with my daughter . There had always been a small nodule that was benign and every time I went for a mammogram they said it was fine.

My last mammogram was November 2018 . So went to work that following morning sat in my director of operations office and was scared, concerned and crying and said I found a lump in my breast. He assured me to try not to worry until you get the biopsy as he went through something similar years before. I took his word and did phone my doctor and arrange a quick appointment. My doctor was great sent for a mammogram and biopsy asap !

Well then I waited about 10 days till the pathology came, back and it was true , I had shown signs of breast cancer with a 1.3 cm lump in my left breast. As well as two lymph nodes in and under the armpit left side .

AS I sat in the doctor's office for him to tell me the news with my New fiance......( insert god send Heavens here ) . I was in shock ! I could not believe what the doctor was telling me. Not so much that I had cancer... as I had lost my Mom to pancreatic cancer 5 years prior and she lost her Mom to it as well at only the age of 52 years old. My Mom passed at 69.

This just showed me that cancer does not discriminate and also that stress and grief play a huge role in getting cancer.

I was shocked! I remember getting into the car after with my fiancé and he could not understand how I was so upset and not thankful that we found out soon enough. I cried, I yelled and I I said why me!

Not why me why is this happening? But why me I am the youngest of 4 siblings , all boys. Two live very unhealthy lifestyles with smoking and drinking. My mom drank and my grandma smoked. I was a mindfulness instructor. Did yoga and meditation almost daily especially through the onset of Covid.I drank my smoothies, tried to eat a balanced healthy diet .

I was mad ! I thought wow for the most part I eat healthy . I may have splurged a bit over the Christmas holidays with my new found love and life. I ate well . I did not drink a lot. Maybe 2 drinks' a week prior to meeting my fiancé. Then a bit more over Christmas.

So yes I was shocked! M ad and asking why me ? Then I sat with it......... absorbed it. My Aunt had just gone through breast cancer two years prior and again a smoker . She made it through and is now breast cancer free. She had to have a double mastectomy and was HER2 positive which is one of the most aggressive cancers for breast cancer. She went through chemo and opted out of radiation treatment.

My pathology reports came in , I booked an appt to see the surgeon that following week. This all happened within a month it was a fast moving train and intense but I was thankful. They sat me down and told me the goods. My markers were so far estrogen weak, progesterone negative and HERS negative. I was relieved. They also said the success rate for this type of cancer is over 80 percent. " This is not a life sentence " Now.... back slide to the first doc appt, he too said " This is not a life sentence " but all I had in my head was that My mom died from cancer and so did my Grandmother... so what now its my turn? It truly was my greatest fear and always in the back of my mind after the passing of my mother. I went for yearly checks and ultrasound with blood work to be proactive for pancreatic cancer . But failed to stay on my mammograms for just over 2 years.

Now granted we are in a Pandemic, everything has been virtual including doc appts and specialist appts at times.

Here's the thing in March of 2020 , I had this inflammation type feeling in my chest and chalked it up to my lungs and Asthma. Covid and a couple chest colds prompted me to get a specialist appt as ai Had had two rior chest tightening what I though were asthma attacks. Still not sure to this day. In May of 2020 I went for stress test 2 times to check my heart, All was fine.

No way in the world did I relate any of it to the possibility of breast cancer. It just felt like inflammation. Now that is still to be determined and will be talked about with the oncologist.

Fast forward 2 weeks and I went for a Bone scan and Ct Scan... to see if the cancer had spread. This was a highly stressful time and hard waiting game for those results to come back. My greatest fear was that it might be in my stomach or pancreas given my family history with females on my side.

Thank god days later I got a call from the nurse navigator ( Just a gem ) breast health clinic , saying its all clear ! I was so relieved, so happy, so overjoyed and felt so blessed.

So far this journey although hard was working in my favour. Not against me. Then... the surgery day came. The first step to getting rid of the cancer.

I was both excited and nervous as you hear horror stories, I didn't know how I was going to look. I was ready to lose my breast to save my life. However, I am also a minimalist. I believe in natural care, natural healing and my bodies ability to heal itself. So less is better, not extreme measures unless required.

The day of surgery was good the Foothills care team was amazing I literally walked to my operating bed. Why ? You may ask well because the shortage of beds available .

The surgeon was great and gave me reassuring shoulder rubs of compassion. The anesthesiologist was great and said he would give me some Happy juice . LOL

Soon I was off in a sleepy slumber of true paradise. While I was under I went to the most amazing place with my Fiance...... it truly felt like Heaven and I didn't want to come back . Before I went under I prayed to god.... " Dear lord I sure would love to see mom if I could, but I would like to come back please :)"

That didn't happen, god had other plans nd took me straight to paradise with my fiance " Heavens . And yes that is his real name .

Upon waking I remember thinking I don't want to walk up yet " it's so beautiful here " where are we. It felt and looked like heaven.

But I did and was puking 3 times as my body let go of the meds and anesthetic they gave me. I was sick, dopped up on morphine and traumacet . Kinda flying high but hurting. I remember I wanted to sit up as I felt so nauseous. As I did I felt better. The nurses were great. My throat was very sore from the breathing tube. But I was alive and immediately once I got steady looked down at my breast. " I still had one! only smaller :)" Yay ! I thought to myself " I truly felt blessed.

The following week became a challenges as I adjusted to my pain, the drain and my new normal and nursing my body and self back to health.

Which will be shared in a soon to be written article.

I share my story with you today for a few reasons.......1 for awareness " Check your breasts " If you or something does not feel right ... look into and ask for a mammogram and most of all stay on top of your mammograms!

Do your monthly self checks if you have a nodule like I had check it regularly. I hope me sharing my journey and story I may help save a life and also give you hope and faith as you may go through your journey now.

God bless and be in good health ,

Cheryl Tessari

" Your health is your wealth ! "