At 36 weeks pregnant, I discovered a lump in my breast. A week later I was diagnosed with cancer.

Andrew and I started dating our freshman year of college at the University of Iowa. We had such a strong connection right away, I just knew it was right. We dated for 9 years, and got married nearly 3 years ago. 

I had the strong urge to become a mother right away, so I pushed to start trying right away. Andrew wanted to wait to try until after our honeymoon, but I convinced him that it would surely take a couple of tries, so what could be the issue with trying right away?...and then I got pregnant the first try! (What a blessing this turned out to be because of unknown health issues to come, and being told I should not carry anymore children!) To say that we were happy was an understatement. We daydreamed every day of what our little bundle of joy would be like.

My pregnancy was great. Benjamin was very active even then, constantly moving around and getting hiccups at least three times a day. I was so elated to become a Mom, I felt it was my life's calling. Fast forward to 36 weeks pregnant, I discovered a lump in my breast. Google told me that it was more than likely a clogged milk duct. Google was wrong.

I went in to see the doctor only a few hours after I discovered the lump, and ended up getting a biopsy two days later. The following day, I found out I had an aggressive form of breast cancer, in the early stages.

On September 29th, I was induced and on the morning of September 30th, gave birth to a beautiful and extremely healthy baby boy.

I had one week with my precious newborn before my breast cancer treatment appointments began. I started aggressive chemotherapy two weeks after he was born, a few days after my 29th birthday. I can't tell you how I longed to only have the worries that a new Mom had. Instead, I was faced with other horrible worries on top of those typical of a new Mom. All I wanted to do was be with my baby, but I was forced to leave him for a few hours nearly every day for appointments or chemo. I had a few appointments that virtually left me radioactive, and I wasn't allowed to hold him for days. It broke my heart, but we made it through. I had the amazing help of my friends and family that made sure we were fed and that Benjamin always had someone to take care of him when Mommy had to be elsewhere.

I finished chemo, completed a lumpectomy and double mastectomy and am now cancer free! At the time, I thought I'd never get here, but somehow I made it. 

Benjamin distracted me so much during those bad times. He made me smile when most people would cry. I am forever grateful to that baby boy for saving my life. If not for him, I may not have discovered the lump at all. I really have a love for him that goes so far beyond what I ever imagined - he is my everything.

Here we are, nearly 4 years post-breast cancer diagnosis and post childbirth - I have a happy, hilarious, active and smart little boy. I'm running CONSTANTLY, because sitting still is just not his jam. He is so special to us, and we are so grateful for him. 

Paige - Mom of Benjamin (3) - Illinois, USA

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