CONTACT JOAN CONTACT JOAN

Rachel Dowd

Last April 2014 when I was doing push ups at the gym, something felt different...a pulling sensation in my left breast caused me to pause. I had been always healthy, ate organic foods, worked out and had mammograms since I was 30 for the past 15 years. My last one was 8 months ago. I did a self exam and felt a lump and I knew right away it was not right. It was big and hard and I had wondered how it could have been missed in my recent doc visits. Either it grew really fast or I must not have been diligent enough about my self exams and the growing lump must not have shown up on the mammogram 8 months ago. On May 10th I was diagnosed with triple negative, stage 2 breast cancer. There was no family history and I took the BRCA test and it was negative, but my tumor was huge at almost 4cm and it was serious. Unfortunately it was not until July 10th that a surgeon finally did the double mastectomy that I wanted after going through 2 surgeons in NH who described a difficult process involving expanders. I decided to go to Boston and had everything done in the same surgery including reconstruction with nipple sparing which was amazing. I wanted it out while my body was strong and opted to do chemo after surgery. Just finished with my last chemo last week on January 12th! I've been following Joan because she is a few weeks ahead of me in her treatments. Now they would like me to consider radiation, which I am thinking about. Every stage is a victory and a risk/benefit has to be considered at every point. I used a cold therapy product called Elastogel on my hands, feet and head to avoid neuropothy, reduce hair loss and I have no neuropathy at all thanks to Southwest Technologies let me demo the product. Now a trial will be done on the infusion floor at MGH thanks to my efforts! I did have 2 nodes positive so there is a lot to consider. I did 16 rounds of chemo (4 ac and 12 taxol). I have integrated a lot of natural alternative therapy to support my body during this process. If you want to learn more, my full personal journey is on my blog: http://RachelsHealing.weebly.com. Please comment and know you are not alone in this fight...we can beat this together!

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