I was diagnosed with breast cancer, ILC, stage 1, grade 2 in January 2021 and had my surgery immediately. A few months after my surgery, I had complications with cording and sought therapy from a lymphedema specialist with the Pink Ribbon Program for a year. Because the cording went into my arm, they suspected lymphedema in addition to the cording. My therapist taught me what to watch for and how to prevent further complications in my arm. I was fitted for the sleeves as well as the gauntlet and found several breast cancer foundations that offered to send me sleeves; however, my advice after going through this is to seek out a professional fitter because oftentimes wearing a sleeve the wrong way or wearing one not fitted specifically for you can cause more problems. I had an oophorectomy so I could be on my preferred HRT medication.

After six months of the HRT, I developed severe bone pain so I switched medications. Within 16 days of the new meds, I developed trigger thumb and my thumbs came out of the sockets and froze in a locked position. I met with a hand surgeon and had two surgeries for trigger finger release. My hands were in casts for 12 weeks. Then a few months later, my wrist and shoulder on my left (cancer) side had severe pain. I had ultrasounds, x-rays, blood tests, and met with multiple specialists because I had no range of motion on my left side. I could not even put clothes on by myself. They put me on steroids and I enrolled in the Katzmann Breast Care Center lymphedema therapy program. I went three times a week and had underwater therapy, massage therapy and scraping done to my arm. They eventually found more cording that went from my arm, clear down through my rib cage. I had no idea this was even possible but we worked the cords back into proper position.

The pain still existed so eventually I went back to my hand surgeon. He recommended a cortisone shot but I knew that people with lymphedema were not supposed to get needles in their affected arm. I was hesitant but because I had tried everything else, I got the shot. I was in a hand brace for four weeks, but the shot worked. I am now, three years old with no evidence of cancer. Throughout this journey, I found hope in connecting with others. I tried to ease my fears by finding out as much as I could about my cancer and my options.