Meet Michelle! Michelle and I have a couple great things in common! Both are born and raised Natives of Arizona, and both are Arizona State University Alumni! Go SunDevils!!! I first met Michelle in college and loved her personality and drive. She got married in February 2015 to another ASU alum, and was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in October 2015- insane first year of marriage. I was not Michelle’s nurse, but was so inspired by her story, and witnessing the love surrounding her, and unconditional support of her husband Chris! Thank you so much Michelle for being a part of this and for allowing me to share your story! You truly are an inspiration!!!
When were you diagnosed and what diagnosis?
I was diagnosed when I was 30 years old with stage 1, triple negative breast cancer. I tested negative for the BRCA gene. My treatment plan included 8 rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. I had about 5 surgeries and 2 rounds of fertility treatments within 1.5 year time frame.
What has been the greatest challenge for you?
The greatest challenge for me was the mental fear and anxiety. The physical pain was much easier to get through than the mental aspect. The unknown was terrifying, the anxiety of reoccurrence never really leaves. The second challenge has been the fear of infertility. I have a strong desire to start a family and be a mom and there is a potential cancer may have taken that from me.
What have you learned from going through this journey?
l learned to be more mindful, present and in the moment. I work hard every day to manage stress and anxiety- meditation has been a huge help.
What advice would you have to anyone who is going through what you are/were going through?
My advice would be to get your mind in the right place and find a strong support system. Be patient with yourself and with your body. You can still have a normal life, don’t let cancer or chemo stop you from living. You are going to be better than fine!