My name is Lindsey McCombie and I have been married to my college sweetheart for six years. I have two young, amazing and busy children – Carter (4 yrs.) and Pearl (3 yrs.). Two weeks before my 30th birthday I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in my right breast.
This was in the beginning of COVID-19 and I was resistant to going to my yearly OB appointment but my mom told me to get out and get some time to myself. It was at that appointment my doctor felt the lump in my breast. I’d never felt anything myself so I was shocked when three hours later I was sitting with an oncologist getting a biopsy done. It was the Thursday before Mother’s Day weekend. I thought, “I’m only 29, there’s no way I have breast cancer! I have two babies, I work two jobs, I don’t have time for this!” But if there is one thing I’ve learned about cancer, it’s that it doesn’t wait for a convenient time.
The next week as I went to get the biopsy results, I did not bring anyone with me because I truly felt as though this couldn’t be cancer. Once the oncologist came in and told me it was cancer the only thought that came to my head was “Thank God this is me and not my children, I can get through this.”
Cancer has changed my perspective and my life for the better. Cancer isn’t a curse, it’s an opportunity. An opportunity to appreciate the days I feel good, to become closer to God, to offer up my sufferings for others, and to truly have a love for life that I would have never had before cancer.
There was a period of time where I felt like my body was doing more dying than living. Chemo suffocated my spirit and tried to drag me down. Surgery took my breast and everything that made me feel feminine. But when I look at myself now these tiny sprouts of hair returning reminds me that my body has kept battling and breathing and holding on through it all and now it’s coming back to life slowly, yet determined.
My advice to other women diagnosed with breast cancer is to not look at this disease as a curse, “why me”, or allow fear to take over. See this as your opportunity to stand strong and fight. Of course, cry it out and have your moments. You don’t have to know what to do or say right away. You can sit in silence, wait, and simply just hold a hand for as long as it takes. Then remember to listen to that inner voice, there is power in YOUR story not in your diagnosis. You are MORE than breast cancer.
I want to thank the incredible staff at Woman’s Hospital and the Breast & GYN Cancer Pavilion. Each and every staff member, nurse and doctor made the entire process easy and put a smile on my face every time I walked through the door. My breast surgeon Dr. Michael Hailey did not waste any time and was very thorough in everything he did. His nurse Darren was a true angel. My oncologist Dr. Derrick Spell and his staff made sure whatever symptoms came my way I was well equipped to handle them. My plastic surgeon Dr. Jenna Bourgeois truly cared and really made the process of losing my breast not as bad as I felt it would be. As for the nurses in the infusion room, I love each and every one of you; and you have the best snacks. Finally, it all goes back to my OB-GYN Dr. Rebecca Boudreaux, thank you for doing your job so well, you saved my life and I will forever be grateful for you.
Lindsey received treatment at the Breast and GYN Cancer Pavilion, a partnership between Woman’s Hospital and Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.
Through the generosity of our community donors, the Foundation for Woman’s supports free mammograms to any woman who cannot pay. We do this on our campus and through our two mammography coaches. Woman’s is also a partner of Louisiana Cancer Prevention & Control Programs, that enables us to provide no-cost mammograms and Pap tests patients with barriers to care.