Each month Anchor 6, Inc. will feature two young adults that are surviving and fighting through their chronic illnesses. Anchor 6, Inc. would like to introduce their second “Anchor” of the month, Ms. Bo Smith.
Today, Ms. Bo Smith is sharing her journey of surviving an extremely rare form of breast cancer. Bo was diagnosed with stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) at the age of 29. Bo has an amazing spirit! She is a fighter, and has a will to live! Her story has touched my life personally, and has touched many others as well!
To keep up with Bo, LIKE her page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/teamiloveBOobies/
I was 29 years old, recently engaged, and ready to start a family when I received the most horrific news of my life. I was diagnosed with stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). IBC is an extremely rare breast cancer that has no early diagnosis and is found when the cancer has progressed to stages 3 or 4. I found a lump in my breast, which is usually not a symptom of IBC. I went in to the doctor knowing something was wrong, but tried to remain positive. When I received my diagnosis, I went straight to MD Anderson in Houston, TX. I started chemotherapy every week.
I spent 7 months on chemotherapy, with 6 drugs total. It was extremely difficult. I was hospitalized twice for having extremely low blood counts. I received 4 blood transfusions and a platelet transfusion. When my hair started falling out, I cried, then grabbed some clippers and shaved my head. I never let cancer control me. I made sure to always keep the upper hand, even when it seemed impossible to do. After chemo, I had my surgery. I was terrified to lose my breast. I didn’t know how I would feel, or my fiancé. I didn’t want to walk away after all I had been through, and hate my new body. Because my cancer has a high recurrence rate, I am not a candidate for immediate reconstruction, so I would be living with one breast for at least two years. It was one of the most terrifying things I had ever experienced, going into the hospital the morning of my surgery, but once I was out, I went home, stood in front of the mirror and just stared at my new body. I was ok. I then did 44 rounds of radiation. I went twice a day and spent about 20 min each time on the table. Once I finished that, I was done. I was told that I had a complete response to chemo and my pathology report from surgery came back clear. My fight, for now, was over.
Once I was healed, I was able to really look at my new body. A body full of stretch marks, scars and a patch of radiated skin. I feel beautiful and blessed to be in this body. Every day I wake up healthy and cancer free, is a gift to me.