STAGE AT DIAGNOSIS: 1A
ER DIAGNOSIS: Positive
PR DIAGNOSIS: Positive
HER2 DIAGNOSIS: Negative
In Her Own Words…
I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year on my son’s first day of high school. I had gone to my regular mammogram appointment and caught it a stage 1A. I had my first surgery within a week and a half of diagnosis with a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. Fortunately, the biopsy did now show the cancer spreading. Unfortunately, they did not clear the margins, so I had another lumpectomy.
Further testing determined I did not have genetic markers for breast cancer, but I still encouraged my four sisters to get a mammogram. After a month of healing, I started 16 rounds of radiation treatment and finished right after Thanksgiving. After a month of recovering from radiation treatment, I started my adjuvant treatment for breast cancer, the estrogen suppressor “tamoxifen,” in January 2022. I had many side effects from tamoxifen, including nausea, dizziness, hot flashes, fatigue, and joint pain. I am still trying to figure out my life as a survivor, some days are good, and some are bad. It is a struggle to live a thriver survivor life every day. If I am not well rested, I will feel sick from the tamoxifen, so I often say no to things I would have previously said yes.
I got my first post-cancer mammogram on August 1, and I had been dreading it, and a part of me wondered if cancer had returned. Fortunately, my mammogram was good, but August is always going to be a challenging time since August 23 is my “cancerversary.” Breast Cancer Anniversary Month is very different for me this year, being on the other side.
It has been challenging dealing with my cancer at work. I am in the military and the executive officer for over 50 people. Not everyone at work knew what I was going through, and I was uncomfortable talking about it while I was in treatment. I can talk about it more and use humor to deal with cancer. I just got a cancer card for my wallet that says, “This card may be used to get out of anything. This card may be kept forever.”
Get To Know April…
What has been the most challenging part of your journey?
The most challenging part of the journey was allowing myself to rest and tell people no. I had to listen to my body and rest when it needed it. I could no longer be there for everyone else, and I had to be there for myself.
What is your superpower?
The power to influence your environment.
What is your theme song?
What is your favorite movie?
What your spirit animal?
Cat, I am a crazy cat lady
What is your favorite food?
Tacos, tacos are life
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would travel to Italy; my happy place is Florence. My first duty station in the Navy was Italy and it has always captured my heart.
What is your favorite quote?
“Il Dolce Far Niente” is Italian for the sweetness of doing nothing in Italian
What I want all breast cancer patients to know…
You are never going to be the person you were before your diagnosis. It is ok to mourn that loss to make your new life, scars and all. You can tell people about your cancer if you want to, but you don’t have to. It is your own story to tell. Also, many things do not matter to me after cancer anymore. I have reprioritized stuff in my life.
— April Bueno