Name: Theresa Huggett
Diagnosed At Age: 26
Status: No evidence of cancer
My Story: I was diagnosed at 26, when I forced my doctors to give me a mammogram. I was “too young” for breast cancer, and I had “no family history,” so they pushed me aside. But, I knew something was wrong. So, I pushed for a biopsy and a mammogram to find cancer at 26. No longer will I stand by and let “too young” or “no family history” get in the way of diagnosis. 90% percent of newly diagnosed patients have no history, and 40% are under 40!
My reaction when I was first diagnosed: I was shocked and ill. I had a gut feeling that something was wrong, but I couldn’t believe it was true. How could this happen? I’m only 26! I’m too young for this.
How I’m feeling now: Happy and centered. I am newly married, and I feel like I found everything I had been searching for.
My inspirations: My support groups and retreats. They showed me strong survivors who were thriving and living their lives after cancer. They were truly the light at the end of the tunnel.
My support system: At the time of my diagnosis, I had a boyfriend, but he left me for another woman while I was at chemo. So, I was single for half of the journey, which was hard. Now, I have my amazing husband who holds my hand through everything. He is my rock, and I feel stronger because he is in my life. I feel whole.
I’m proud of: My best friend. She stepped forward and kept me company at every single chemo session. I was expecting some of my family to be there more than they were, and when they weren’t, I found Tawnya. She stood by me through the whole ordeal.
I’m afraid of: Recurrence. I make healthier choices now to help make sure it doesn’t come back. I quit smoking and started exercising. I am eating healthy and living healthy.
I’ve learned: That I can’t change everything. No matter what I do to fix something or to heal myself, I have to leave it in the hands of fate. Broken relationships due to the trauma of chemo have shown me that life is too short to dwell on the things I can’t change.
My advice to new patients: Take a deep breath. Before you make a decision, go get a massage. Be alone in your thoughts to hear what your gut is telling you. You know in your heart what is right and what is your path. Hear it and have faith in it. Don’t regret or worry about the what if or why not? Go with your heart; your soul will guide you.