“(Feeling calm after my breast cancer diagnosis) had to do with the fact that I empowered myself with education.”
One of the things people ask me about is how I’m doing. Are you ok? Are you feeling sick or anxious?
I felt fine ever since the beginning (of my breast cancer diagnosis), except for that one time my heart jumped in my throat with the doctor that did not have the best bedside manners on the phone.
But I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I empowered myself with education. I’ve spent my whole career in this space, so I knew some of the terminology and some of the thought leaders.
My first reaction to the possibility that I had cancer was to create a game plan. That is the reason that I felt so confident when I did get the diagnosis. I knew I had a game plan. I knew what my next phone call needed to be. I knew that I needed to let the process play out. I had to wait for my pathology to come in so I could have more information. As I got more and more information about my tumor, I was able to put it all within reason of where it needed to sit.
Everything that came in was very much to my benefit. The fact (the tumor) is very small was positive; the fact that I had targetable mutations like ER and PR was very positive; the fact that I didn’t have the accelerant of HER2-positivity was positive; and the fact that it was low histological grade — my KI67 was less than 5%, so it was very low. The only thing that was a bit concerning was that I had vascular invasion. But again, with it being so small, that’s such a tertiary factor.
I felt very confident knowing what I knew, and the more I knew about my tumor and comparing that to it.
Watch Donna’s original vlog, “Getting Diagnosed with the 'Big C' During the 'Big C'” to learn more about her diagnosis during the COVID-19 pandemic.