Survivor Stories

Charisma's survivor story

“ If you develop a new cyst that hasn’t been checked out yet, you need to schedule an imaging appointment. My cancer could have been caught really early if as soon as I noticed a difference, I immediately got it checked out and didn’t wait. ”

Charisma

I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in August 2019 at the age of 37. After I had my daughter in 2014, I started feeling lumps and at that point, I thought it was cancer then. I went in and saw my OB/GYN and he scheduled a mammogram and ultrasound. They diagnosed me with fibrocystic breasts and told me to keep an eye on it.

The lumps would go away, then come back, and I started developing them in different spots. At that point, I began getting annual mammograms. I had found a new lump in my breast but decided to wait until my next annual mammogram to get it checked out. This time, it was cancer.

I was sent to Dr. Colfry and Dr. Zacharia. They are wonderful and together are a great team of doctors. They are so sweet, and they show real empathy which really helps you on your journey.

I had chemo first, then radiation, and then a double mastectomy. I’m still in the journey now. I still have another surgery to do, and other than that, I’m doing well. Fortunately, I did have a good support system through it all between my husband, my family, and my friends.

I had lymph nodes removed out of my arm so I’m here at the Cancer Rehabilitation working out my arm because sometimes it feels a little tight. I haven’t experienced any lymphedema, but it is hard to reach my arm up sometimes. I‘m just trying to get to a point that I was at before surgery.

I want to spread awareness about breast cysts and fibrocystic breast – even if you’re diagnosed with fibrocystic breast and you notice a change, my advice is to immediately get it checked out. If you develop a new cyst that hasn’t been checked out yet, you need to schedule an imaging appointment. My cancer could have been caught really early if as soon as I noticed a difference, I immediately got it checked out and didn’t wait. It’s important to catch cancer early.