Meet Breast Cancer Grad, Essie Munter
Name: Essie Munter
Age at Enrollment: 36 years old
Major: Type II her2neu breast cancer in left breast. 9 cm area full of micro calcifications filled with cancer.
What were the primary symptoms you experienced prior to diagnosis? None. There was no lump, no pain. There was nothing to feel. No indication that I had breast cancer- none what so ever.
What symptom(s) lead you to go to the doctor? My nagging boyfriend telling me to see the doctor for a cyst in my left breast. I didn’t want to go because I knew it was a cyst that would go away on its own.
Courses Completed: I had chemo first. 3x fect and 12 x ptc , then my mastectomy, but they spared my skin. And I had immunotherapy during chemo until October 2016. Herceptin and Perjeta. The results were so good ʹ that I was able to skip the 21 radiations.
What was your hardest moment (or moments) and how did you you get through it/them? The moment when I was alone the first week after chemo. I cried. I felt so alone and unsure about my future. I felt like I was trapped in a glass house while everybody was living their lives, telling me to be strong. I didn’t want to hear that.
Every time I tried to talk about it with someone, they told me to be strong. Pffft! As if that really would make me feel better. So, I stopped talking about it- instead I just cried my eyes out. After that, I looked at myself in the mirror and visualized myself winning my fitness competition. I visualized standing on stage with a beautiful bling bikini on. I visualized my muscular body with a trophy in my hands and smiling.
That feeling gave me power. That power made me feel strong. It turned me into warrior mode. It felt like my inner lion roared- I am gonna live!! I am going to be strong and beat this!! Now get up, put your makeup on and let’s do this shit!! That feeling was so strong. I loved it!
Any helpful (tangible) tips or tricks you discovered for dealing with your symptoms and/or cancer? I just kept going to the gym. That really helped me. It made me feel stronger and better. Although I could not lift heavy weights- I grabbed the light ones.
How did you find joy during this experience? In my "roar" moments, Netflix, the motivational things on social media. Posting my own positivity on social media as well. I even had some journals on Youtube. I wanted to document my journey with power and good vibes- from "cancer girl" to "fitness girl". Sadly, my Instagram account was hacked, and I lost a lot of photos.
Did you learn anything about yourself? If so, what was it? I learned how to be really strong. And that I should do things that make me happy with people that make me happy. Time is short and I don’t want to spent it on bullshit or negative things anymore. I am a queen, and I deserve good things- and even in bad days there are good things. My motto is now win or learn, but never lose. I guess overall, it gave me a stronger and more shining power of positivity.