It is an honor to share my story as a testament to God’s amazing power and glory! In early 2012, I was both thrilled and surprised to find out I was pregnant and expecting a baby girl. I had suffered from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Metabolic Disorder which brought about lots of weight gain, hormonal imbalance and missed periods that kept me from ovulating for a year or more at a time. I made a personal commitment to exercise for health reasons, got a personal trainer on March 25, 2012 and on April 17, 2012, found out I was pregnant.
My pregnancy was great and although I ate well, exercised almost daily, and lost 3 lbs my whole pregnancy, baby girl, Morgan, arrived 5 weeks earlier than expected on November 19, 2012. That very day, on the operating table, I expressed concern to my OBGYN about a lump I had found in my breast a few days earlier, one that I almost forgot to mention due to the chaos surrounding my day – i.e. the unexpected early delivery. I was scanned in the hospital the very next day and the lump was dismissed as a galactocele. A what? A cyst created by a clogged milk duct, the radiologist told me. He stated it should go away in a week or so after I began nursing my daughter. After a week and a half home with my new bundle of joy, a complication from the caesarian delivery incision arose, which gave my OBGYN an opportunity assess the lump again and then refer me to a breast specialist. The second look resulted in an accurate and scary diagnosis of STAGE III BREAST CANCER. Trying to find any good in this diagnosis, I remember being so thankful and grateful for the unexpected, early arrival of Morgan and my OBGYN’s instincts that caught the cancer at the time we did.
In December 2012, I began a year-long battle against cancer which my doctor’s told me would be aggressive—chemo, a double mastectomy, and radiation. I bravely faced my first day of chemo on December 31, 2012 (Christmas Eve) with my husband, Derrick Kennedy, by my side. For five months, I would receive weekly chemotherapy treatments of adriamycin, cytoxan, taxol and cisplatin (serious stuff) all while nurturing a newborn, caring for a teen, being a wife and continuing my career as a Legal and Compliance Professional for a healthcare company. I also discovered that my breast cancer is hereditary (BRCA 1 gene mutation), which carries an 87% risk for breast cancer and a 44% risk for ovarian cancer. That finding would guarantee that I would need a double mastectomy and a complete removal of all my lady parts in the near future as well. In June 2013, I had that double mastectomy and also found that my pathology report showed “no evidence of cancer.” HALLELUJAH and AMEN!!! I made the decision to endure preventative radiation—33 treatments that lasted from October 2013-December 2013; only to turn around and have the hysterectomy and ovary removal surgery in March 2014. Additionally, several reconstructive surgeries in 2014 followed.
Through it all, I adopted my very own personal mantra—one fitting of my circumstances and my overall feeling of God’s blessing upon me and my family through it ALL– ‘blessed, loved and thankful’.
It has been 2 years and 8 months since that breast cancer diagnosis. I have many aches and pains and a lot of residual weight gain. As I try to position myself to continue to stay cancer free through diet, exercise, and a strong mind, I always remember how blessed, loved and thankful I am for this life and for waking up to fight another day, every day! I look at my accomplishments and I am proud of myself and thankful for the resilience and optimism to beat CANCER
#BLESSEDLOVEDTHANKFUL -Tiffany Miller-Kennedy