Hi everyone, my name is Christina. In October 2020, at the age of 35, I went for my first mammogram, not because I had felt a lump, or had any symptoms at all actually, but just because my mom who is a nurse suggested I go for a baseline test. Most people are told not to go until they are 40, but my mom is adopted and we don't know her family history, so I always try to be preventative about health screenings. The day after my mammogram, I got a call that I need to go in for a needle biopsy because there were two abnormalities, one of each breast. I was terrified! Everyone kept telling me it's probably nothing, and I tried to believe them and not jump to conclusions, but unfortunately, it was something. I got the call from my OB-GYN's office that I should bring someone with me to my appointment to discuss the results the next day, and I just knew something was wrong. The wait was unbearable.
The next day, I was diagnosed with triple positive invasive ductal carcinoma in my left breast. I couldn't believe it, and I immediately feared the
worst. My OB-GYN couldn't believe it either, and was amazed that I had just happened to go in for a mammogram on my own. He said based on where the tumor is and the size, he would have never felt it on a
n exam, and even if I had asked him if I should go for mammogram, he wouldn't have ever suggested it until I was 40! Immediately, I asked did I catch it early and will I live? All he could say was that I was lucky I went and that he had set up an appointment with the breast surgeon for me the next morning. Another unbearable wait.
The next morning, my breast surgeon gave me some good news... I had caught it early! It was stage 2 based on tumor size, and it hadn't spread to my lymph nodes. It was triple positive, which meant my treatment would include different ways of attacking the cancer. I was so relieved! She then asked what my family planning dreams were, because she had saw on my medical record that I had lost my first baby, Cooper, the year before at 29 weeks pregnant. Our dream was to have 2 children someday. She explained to me that the treatment would affect my fertility and that she was going to refer me to a fertility preservation doctor so that I could make our dream come true one day. It was overwhelming to say the least. My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant and were now thrown into the IVF process within days! And we only had one shot, because I had to start chemotherapy as soon as possible. To make matters more stressful, the cost of the fertility preservation was so prohibitive! The gave us a compassionate care rate, and even that was mind-boggling to us, especially on such
I had mentioned to the social worker at the cancer center that my insurance was not going to cover any of the fertility preservation expenses, even though it was medically necessary, and that the unexpected financial burden was stressing me out on top of everything else. She thankfully knew about Team Maggie and referred me to their website. I was so grateful that there was an organization like this that could ease some of the unexpected financial strain. It means so much to young people diagnosed with cancer who dream of having a family one day, and I am eternally grateful for the grant that I have received to help keep our hopes alive! It helps knowing we still have the chance to have a family one day and gives me something to look forward to amongst this scary diagnosis and treatment. Although this all delays our plans, I will not let cancer take that dream away from me and my husband and can't thank Team Maggie enough for helping support us in our journey to a happy and healthy family! Best of luck to everyone on your own journeys!