Monday 24 February, 2020

My Cancer Story & Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Tammy, based in the US, a cancer exercise specialist and breast cancer survivor.

In 2017 my life changed drastically. this is My Cancer Story about my Breast Cancer Diagnosis.  I went in for a routine mammogram and a month later I was told I have breast cancer! My first thought was, me? How could I have CANCER?

I didn’t smoke or drink, I never ate fast food, I cooked at home, loved fruits and vegetables, exercised daily and slept 8 hours a night.  To top it off I had been a certified personal trainer for over 10 years at the time and had exercised regularly for most of my life!

Breast cancer diagnosis

How could this be happening?  Here’s the short version.  They first found non-invasive stage 0 breast cancer and I had the option of a lumpectomy with radiation or a mastectomy and no radiation.  I chose the latter hoping after my reconstruction I could recover and go back to my life.  Two weeks after surgery pathology found another tumor that was invasive breast cancer this time and stage 1.  It had been removed during my mastectomy. Sounds good, right? My tumors tested estrogen and progesterone positive and my oncologist said we were waiting for one more test on the 2nd tumor. Unfortunately for me, it came back HER2+ (a gene amplification or protein overexpression).  HER2+ breast cancers tend to grow faster, are more aggressive and are more likely to spread and come back compared to HER2- breast cancers. The good news, there are medicines specifically for HER2+ breast cancer. The bad news, chemo was required and the treatments lasts for one year!!  The doctor told me I would lose my hair and be extremely fatigued. 

I was devastated. 

Depression, denial and bargaining

Depression, denial, bargaining…I wanted to run away and never come back!  Lose my hair?!?  Put poison in my veins and make me physically sick?!?  Why make a healthy person sick?!? Sometimes I still can’t believe all this happened.

Well, I decided I needed to show my three girls that being here for them (healthy) was more important than my hair. I firmly believe that my excellent health and physical shape prior to this diagnosis has made all the difference in my quick recovery.  It led me to continue working out 6 days a week! And I recovered and now I’m here to help others do the same!

Tammy Salmone is a cancer exercise specialist, personal trainer and breast cancer survivor. Follow and connect with @tammy in the War On Cancer app

Read other War On Cancer articles here:

Dating after cancer

Why are we not talking about prostate cancer?

Coping with a cancer diagnosis 

Does sugar feed cancer?

Dealing with cancer 

Cancer from a loved one’s perspective 

Nutrition and cancer

Corona/Covid19 and cancer

Tammy, based in the US, a cancer exercise specialist and breast cancer survivor.

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