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My name is Paulla. I am a survivor last, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend first. I have chosen to determine what cancer is in my life.
In 2001, I was 28 years old and complained of a tender lump in my left breast. I was a mother of two young children and was told that I was too young for breast cancer. For 7 years, at every yearly exam, I was told that the lump was nothing and that I was too young. Finally, I found my voice. The lump had become painful and I was experiencing tingling and numbness in my fingers. I boldly told my physician that she was wrong. Two weeks letter I received my mammogramand ultrasound, was sent to a Breast Center and on the first day of school, was diagnosed with Stage 3C Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.
Thanks to the amazing staff at the John C. Lincoln Breast Center, I was launched into treatment quickly with the group of doctors that they recommended and began chemotherapy about ten days after diagnosis. I pushed through 8 chemo treatments, with three weeks inbetween each. I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, 32 days of radiation and a full hysterectomy, all in about 18 months. My husband, children and family were amazing with the love and support that they provided.
Unfortunately, one month after being diagnosed, my father was hospitalized with Leukemia. We both experienced the harsh side effects of chemotherapy together, encouraging eachother and sharing time just sitting together. One month after that, he passed away. He showed me Gods grace even in difficult times and he gave me a lot of strength to push and finish my treatments strong. I missed months of football and softball tournaments, school events and church functions, but was in the battle for my life, for my husband, for my children.
I am a three year survivor and I now have the priviledge of working for the same Breast Center that diagnosed me. I educate the public on Breast Health and Breast Cancer Awareness on a regular basis, as well as, aiding women in their journey of breast cancer by providing resources for financial and psycho-social support. I am on the leadership board for the Phoenix Affiliate of Young Survival Coalition and have the priviledge of meeting many amazing women, as well as see them finish strong through treatments.
My amazing husband of sixteen years is my best friend and never left my side. My children are my biggest cheerleaders and the rest of my family and freinds are gifts from God. Although the journey was hard, it changed me for the better. It made me stronger, grateful and faithful. God had a plan for my life and how amazing to be living that plan for him.