Counting my breast cancer journey as joy!

by Michele Simmons michelesimmons_pharmacy

(Jeweler, North Carolina)

My story with Premier starts as I was transitioning from triple negative breast cancer survivor to pharmacy school student. After being diagnosed at the age of 33 with breast cancer and scheduled for a lumpectomy with sentinel node biopsy, I found out I was pregnant one week prior to the lumpectomy. My sentinel node biopsy was changed to maximum axillary node dissection, and results from pathology revealed an aggressive triple negative breast cancer that required six rounds of chemotherapy while pregnant. Normally, it would have been four rounds, but one of the standard agents could not be used due to my pregnancy.

michelesimmons_daughterMy daughter was born 4 1/2 weeks early, right at time of my next treatment if seven rounds were given. She had no issues, other than being a little jaundiced, and came home with me after the normal two-day stay. My journey continued with 39 radiation treatments, then no more therapy because I had triple negative breast cancer.

This “treatment void” led me to Facing Forward, a support group for women surviving cancers. The women of Facing Forward were instrumental in helping me decide to attend pharmacy school to become an oncology pharmacist and I began that academic journey in 2009. Fast forward seven years to today, and I am now a pharmacist at an outpatient cancer center where michelesimmons_familyI work with other health care providers to treat breast cancer patients, as well as patients with other cancers. Premier is a part-time way to serve others, while supporting my need for bling (which often brightens the day for the breast cancer patients I serve as a pharmacist).  Premier also enables me to hold fundraisers to benefit breast cancer patients, which I was able to begin as a pharmacy student and a member of Kappa Epsilon, a professional pharmacy fraternity with a focus on raising money for breast cancer education and awareness. As Joan Horner would say, I count it all as joy!

 

 

One thought on “Counting my breast cancer journey as joy!

  1. Thank for sharing your amazing story. My Mom and my best friend are breast cancer survivors, too. Unfortunately two of my hostesses died of cancer last year. It’s so great that we can use our business to uplift other women and to help raise funds. Lucy

    Like

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