Hi! If you’re here, you may already know me—my name is Taylor Trenski. I am 26 years old and I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…
and I have breast cancer.
There. I said it. Somehow, I still find it hard to say because it makes it more real (even though this is very real and I know that). I have been debating back and forth on whether or not I should share this very personal and intimate news with everyone, but I have learned that other young women’s blogs about their journey with breast cancer have helped me so much and I hope to help others, too—and also update my family and friends at once so I don’t have to keep repeating it (because that gives me anxiety)
Let me start from the beginning…
On April 1, 2018, Easter Sunday, I was lying on my couch watching TV, minding my own dang business. I wasn’t wearing a bra and I had an oversized t-shirt on (at least I think so, honestly I can’t remember because my brain is like WTF IS HAPPENING) and I was cold because Andrew, my fiancé, loves to keep the house at a balmy -45 degrees, so I had my arms inside of my shirt. Naturally, I decided to feel my boobs because I do that regularly since I have a strong family history of breast cancer in my family. THANK GOD I DID because I felt a lump on my right breast.
Immediately, fear washed over me. I began to thoroughly examine my breast and make sure it was there—it was (and still is). Now, I tend to have “lumpy” breast tissue (TMI? Oh well, get used to that) and they would get kind of painful around my period so I knew this lump was different because it was hard, not painful, and just… different. And you know what? I knew. I just knew it was something to worry about. So, I called Andrew upstairs and had him look at it and feel it so I can see if I was being crazy or not and he verified that it was indeed there but told me not to panic because “it could be nothing” and to call my OB/GYN in the morning.
You better believe I called her the next day! Thank God, they were able to see me that afternoon. My regular gynecologist was on vacation (insert eye roll here) so I saw the other gyno that works in the same office. She felt my lump and also verified that it was definitely there but told me that it was a “good sign” that my lump moved around a lot because “cancerous lumps tend to stick to the tissue”, but based on my family history, she had me scheduled for a mammogram and ultrasound to make sure it was “nothing”.
*Side note: My beautiful mother, Yvonne, passed away from breast cancer in 2013. Therefore, my doctors tend to take me seriously when I express any concerns regarding my health, thank God. I know a lot of other young women with the same concerns are not taken seriously because they are “too young” to have/get breast cancer. This has to change.
So, I went for my very first mammogram and ultrasound the following week. Let me just say, I am naturally a small-chested woman so I was like “what are they even going to put between these plates? Is it going to hurt even more?” I couldn’t believe I was actually getting a mammogram. And I happy to say, it didn’t really hurt at all! I did, however, sing the ABC’s in my head the entire time to distract myself. When I’m scared, it’s seriously amazing what my mind will do to distract me (e.g. counting how many towels I see under me during my MRI but we’ll get to that in another post haha)
During the ultrasound, two technicians attempted to get a good picture of my tumor (fancy word for “lump”) but they couldn’t, so the radiologist came in and he took a whack at it. He got it and when we were all finished, he told me this: “I don’t want you to get scared, but I’m going to order an ultrasound-guided core biopsy for you. I will label this as ‘highly suspicious’ but I have to do that so you can get this procedure done. The chances of this being anything are so low because you’re so young, so don’t worry. We just want to make sure it’s nothing.” There it was again: “…it’s nothing” Okay… whatever you say…
Naturally, I was flipping out inside. Everything was, and still is, happening so fast and I was like, “a biopsy?!” I hate needles and have come a long way since my younger days, but I still do not like them. The thought of a giant needle piercing the skin of my boob and jamming itself in there to get some tissue samples of this tumor made me want to cry… and I did 🙂
April 18, 2018 was the day of the biopsy and I had the nicest, kindest nurse to help me through it. She held my hand the entire time and talked to me about a bunch of things to get my mind off of what was actually happening. God definitely sent her to me and I am so thankful for that! Long story short, the biopsy wasn’t bad at all. They numbed me with lidocaine and then after that, I didn’t feel much. From what I read, a lot of women said there was a lot of pressure, but I didn’t think so. The doctor definitely pushed on me but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.
They told me I would probably have my biopsy results that following Monday (it was a Wednesday). I wasn’t that worried because I (and many others) told myself to not freak out and it was—you guessed it—probably nothing.
DID I MENTION THIS WAS ALL HAPPENING DURING THE WEEK BEFORE FINALS WEEK OF MY FINAL SEMESTER OF COLLEGE AFTER 8 YEARS OF HARD WORK?
April 20, 2018
I was sitting in my chemistry class as we reviewed for our final exam and my phone rang. It was a number from my gyno’s office and I immediately got up from my seat and went out into the hallway because, ya know, I just knew.
The woman on the other end asked me if I could be at their office at 2:15pm (it was 1:00pm at this time and I was nearly 45 minutes or so away) and I was like, uhhh well I have a FRICKIN FINAL EXAM (I didn’t add the ‘frickin’ part) at 2:00, so… and she was like, “Okay well can you be here by 2:30?” Then I said, “Is it urgent?” and she was like, “Dr. Turner needs to see you to go over your biopsy results” I said I’d be there.
I immediately started crying right there in the hallway. Just crying and crying because I knew it was bad and I wasn’t sure I was ready to handle the news. I called Andrew at work and he left immediately to come and get me from school so I didn’t have to drive myself (he is truly the best person on the planet, I couldn’t be more thankful for him).
All of my things were still in my classroom but I didn’t want to go back inside crying (we had small class sizes so they would have definitely noticed). The head of the science department at my school was in the hallway at that time (God knew) and I pulled her aside and told her, through many tears, what was going on. She immediately went and retrieved all my things—including my cap and gown that I had just picked up that day, like, come on, I can’t make this up—and walked me to her office where she sat with me the entire time while I waited for Andrew. That meant so much to me and she really helped me get through that last week of classes and is the reason I still graduated.
Andrew finally arrived and we left for my doctor’s office. I felt like all of my organs were suddenly in my butt and I just cried and prepared for the appointment. We arrived at her office and they brought us back into a room where we waited for the doctor for what felt like an eternity.
I could just tell by the way the doctor greeted me that she had bad news. She sat down and looked me in the eyes and said, “You must know that since I called you in here it isn’t good news…” I nodded, trying not the throw up.
“You have breast cancer.”
It was in that moment that my entire life changed. It was in that moment where I suddenly forgot how to speak or know my own name or date of birth—because she asked me and I couldn’t answer her. Luckily, Andrew answered for me.
The doctor explained everything to Andrew and I, but I heard nothing. The room was spinning, I felt sick to my stomach, and my worst nightmare was now a reality.
We left the room and my knees were shaking, I was shaking, powerwalking out of that office. As soon as the door opened into the parking lot, I broke down. I don’t even remember walking back to Andrew’s truck but somehow I ended up there. We sat in the truck as I called my father to tell him the news. I could barely get out the words through my tears as I managed to get out: “I have breast cancer”. I handed the phone over to Andrew so he could talk to my father and I just sat there wishing this wasn’t real. We then called my sister and my Godmother, Debbie, and we went straight to her house so I could tell my twin brother, Michael (even though Debbie broke the news to him first because I just couldn’t do it).
So there it is. That’s how it all began. I’m still in the process of everything and have appointments after appointments and I don’t have all of the answers yet… but this is where I’m at. I met my breast surgeon the following week and she was great. Very reassuring and knowledgeable and so far, I really trust her.
Before meeting my surgeon for the first time!
At this time, I do not know what stage my cancer is in.
I do know that it is called Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and it is ER/PR+ and HER2-
I had an MRI on May 4, 2018 to analyze the tumor more and see if it has spread or not. Hopefully, the results of the MRI will then be able to give us a staging when I meet my oncologist on May 10th.
Let’s all pray for the best results possible because, with God, anything is possible. Miracles are possible because of God and I learned today in church that we have to do what’s Natural and pray for the Supernatural.
Natural: receiving medical attention, medicine, testing, healthy eating, etc.
Supernatural: praying that God gets me through this alive and well, praying for strength and healing.
I want to thank everyone that has shown me such love and grace after sharing this news with them. To Virginia, the kind lady in the waiting room that took my phone number and texts me to say she’s praying for me. To the amazing young women I’ve already met that has or is dealing with breast cancer—you are amazing and I am so lucky to be surrounded by love and support.
To Andrew and my family, THANK YOU. Without you all, I would never make it and I love you so much.
I am Taylor Trenski.
I am 26 years young and I have breast cancer—breast cancer DOES NOT have me.
Here’s to the biggest fight of my life and the only option is come out stronger, healthier, and better than I was before.