Breast Cancer Grad- Alison Hinch
Name: Alison Hinch
Age at Enrollment: 34
Major: ER+ PR+ Noninvasive Breast Cancer
What were the primary symptoms you experienced prior to diagnosis? Loss of appetite that made me lose a lot of weight. I went from 220 to 155 in 6 months. The weight loss made my breast change. During my monthly exam I found a hard spot on my breast, and noticed my nipple was slightly turned up.
What symptom(s) lead you to go to the doctor? When I found the hard spot I knew I had to go.
Courses Completed: Four rounds of Chemo, Bilateral Mastectomy with reconstruction using implants. One week hospital stay after my second chemo that messed up my heart and made me anemic. I had to get a blood transfusion. I was also gifted Cdiff during my hospital stay.
What was your hardest moment (or moments) and how did you you get through it/them? The time between diagnosis and actual action. The unknown killed me. I was so happy when they finally told me I did need chemo because I just wanted to know what I was up for. Being on the fence of needing it or not was just not fun. I laughed hysterically after the doctor told me I needed 4 rounds of chemo. My husband thought I had lost my mind.
Any helpful (tangible) tips or tricks you discovered for dealing with your symptoms and/or cancer? Pillows are key to a mastectomy recovery.
How did your family and friends respond? They were very shocked. Sad, mad but most of them rallied to help others drifted into the shadows.
Did you learn anything about yourself? If so, what was it?
1. I learned that as hard as it might be you have a choice on how you react to situations you are put in. After my diagnosis i was crushed and upset which is only natural. At one point I realized this sucks, I don’t want to be sad. This is going to take a long time to get thru and if I stay upset it won’t get better. If I choose to laugh at this it will be much more bearable. That is what I did and what I continue to do. It’s not always easy but practice makes perfect.
2. My kids are even more amazing humans then I realized. They continue to step up to the plate and help me and care for me. They are patient when I forget things and when I don’t feel good they will always ask how they can help. I hate that they worry about me, but they also have learned that they choose how they handle the situation. They also know if they help their nana doesn't need to come to help LOL!
3. I was always hesitant to go full time freelance. A few months before I was diagnosed I was laid off. I had found a steady freelance client that I was able to maintain during treatment. At that point, I figured if I can do this during chemo, I can do it when I'm healthy and I haven’t stopped since. Someday I will work full time for AnaOno and that is the only exception, because I love doing this work. It brings me joy.
4. I have learned to do what I want. Before cancer I was afraid to do what I want. Always worried I would upset someone. Now I have embraced who I really am. I’m no longer trying to fit in the mold that I thought I needed to be in. As much as Cancer sucks, I'm grateful for how it has shaped me. I am thankful for the opportunities it has dropped in my lap.