Diagnosed at 36 Years Old

By Blythe Sheahan

Blythe's Story I’ve given birth to three beautiful, healthy girls. I nursed them for a total of five and a half years. I knew it was good for me, but ultimately, I did it for them. Plus, I loved it. My third little girl was a BIG surprise, one that took my entire pregnancy for me to adjust. But once I saw her beautiful face, I knew Heaven.

In April 2011, when at a retreat with one of my best friends, I had all the signs and symptoms of Mastitis – a common breast infection while nursing. I visited the doctor when I returned home and was given instructions to nurse that baby a lot. So I did! And it seemed to work itself out. Although it never really stopped bothering me…

My doctor suggested it was time to stop nursing…my breasts had done more than enough for my babies, and it was time. So I did. And it was hard. But when I did, that same spot flared up. The doctor thought it was because I stopped nursing “cold turkey”, but wanted me to see a breast specialist so she could treat it correctly (yeast, Mastitis, etc). One biopsy and five days later, I learned I had breast cancer. No family history, no gene, lowest possible risk group with three pregnancies and five and a half years of nursing…

Six days later, I opted to have a double mastectomy. I can’t live the rest of my life wondering if something might pop up in my other breast. I endured five months of chemotherapy, 28 radiation treatments, and complete breast reconstruction. And today I am a two-year survivor!

breast-cancer-ribbon Remember that little surprise? That third, precious little baby? Turns out she’s the reason I caught it so early. The tumor was why the milk became backed up. Had I not been nursing, chances are I wouldn’t have caught it so early.

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