Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Amanda's Story

Hi Everyone! I'm Amanda (from Chicago), some of you know me as @primarypassions on Instagram. Soon I will be a 2 year member of B&B squad; and unfortunately a member of the breast cancer club. Good news is thanks to my ninja skills I've been whoopin' ass the last 11 months.

The week before Thanksgiving 2021, I was doing a self breast exam in the shower and I felt something in my right breast. I met with my OBGYN and during the appointment she assured me it was probably dense breast tissue and shouldn't worry, but we would have to get a mammogram scheduled. A week later the mammogram showed the spot was suspicious. You could imagine the thoughts flying around in my head, I kept just trying to reassure myself it would all be okay. A biopsy was scheduled for the mass and on December 26th I received a phone call with the results. At age 39 I had to listen to the words, YOU HAVE CANCER. The words were spoken with such ease from the Doctor, like she had no idea her words were about to change my life forever. I was diagnosed with triple negative ductal carcinoma of the right breast. The mass was 2.1 cm and the grade was 3, which indicated it was a fast growing stage 2 cancer. After an MRI and 5 other biopsies I was lucky enough to have cancer found in only one single mass. For those of you unfamiliar with a breast cancer diagnosis, triple negative refers to the fact that the cancer cells don't have estrogen or progesterone receptors and they don't make any protein, HER2. It is considered the most invasive because doctors can't find the true cause and it can only be medically treated with chemotherapy. It is most likely caused by environmental factors; stress, diet, and lifestyle. Once I wrapped my brain around it, I did a ton of research and immediately changed my diet to organic, dairy free, meat free, and gluten free diet. It seems wild and a bit crazy but I began to do anything and everything to regain some control of my life.

After many tests, a medicinal port was implanted in my upper chest for the medication infusions, and my infusion regime (chemotherapy) began on February 4th of this year (2022). My treatments consisted of 12 weekly infusions of two medications called taxol/carbo and four lovely treatments of AC "the red devil", great name isn't it. Throughout chemo I made the choice to cold cap, if you don't know about it and want to, reach out. I was able to keep 40 percent of my hair throughout the process which really helped with my emotional state. I finished chemotherapy in July and made the decision to have a lumpectomy on August, 10. The decision of surgery is one that only you can decide and it is not easy. Late August I was given the BEST phone call ever, I was told that the biopsy of the tumor and lymph nodes were clear of all cancer. I had a complete 100% response to the chemo. Unfortunately the journey is not over, I have radiation to still complete and 9 immunotherapy treatments. I keep reminding myself that these things are all extra layers to protect my body from this awful disease ever coming back.

Here is one thing I have to tell you: I am so unbelievably thankful for B&B. Throughout all of this I made sure to control anything I could, which meant I would work out as much as I could. I listened to my body, but I was still able to maintain 4-5 days a week of B&B workouts and on the other days I did not have the strength I walked. Exercise is so important in defeating and preventing this disease; besides the other general benefits. On treatment day Fridays I would still wake up at 5 a.m. and push play so I could feel strong going into the 6 hour sessions at the treatment center. Let's face it, we know kicking and punching relieves stress and gives us a cardio burn, but it has done more for me than I can even explain. It consistently kept my body strong, gave me the confidence to keep my head up high even at my lowest moments, and kept my mind in the right place to stay the course in this journey. I have told everyone that I honestly do not think I would have handled chemo the way that I did without B&B. My body responded the way it did because I made the choice to push play each and every day that I could. I have lost so much through this process, but I refuse to focus on that. I will focus on the good. Through this process I have lost 60 pounds, and not because I was sick but because I changed my lifestyle. I feel stronger and more fit than I have in the last two decades of my life. I am beyond thankful for the love and support of our beautiful FGN and this amazing community. I hope my story reminds you all to take care of yourself because prevention and early detection is so important. Please ladies, take care of yourself and check those boobies!

Published: October 2022