"I Felt the Most Boss When I Saved My Own Life"

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Hello! My name is Tiffany McFadden, and the time I felt the most BOSS was when I saved my own life.

Back in October 2017, I woke up one morning to find a lump that had appeared on my left breast overnight. Normally, you think, "It's probably nothing." But, that wasn't my first thought. I knew the moment I felt it, it was bad.

I immediately got on the phone with my General Physician, who referred me to get a mammogram at the breast clinic the following day. Being 27 years old, I walked into that appointment knowing that only bad news was waiting for me at the other end. But, I never got that mammogram because I was 27 years old. "You're too young. We're not going through with the ultrasound, because it's probably nothing to worry about."

I was floored and immediately demanded an ultrasound. Begrudgingly, they let me get one, but the results were inconclusive since my breasts were too dense to spot anything. So, they referred me to a General Surgeon the next day.

As soon as the General Surgeon took one look at the lump, she said with certainty, "That needs to come out.” The tone with which she delivered that sentence to me was the same tone as my inner voice: full of utmost certainty.

Fast-forward a month and three days later, I had a lumpectomy and the pathology reports came back as positive for cancer. I thought, “I just caught it in its earliest stage. An absolute miracle.”

After meeting with my surgeon, she suggested a mastectomy. Yet, I urged for a DOUBLE mastectomy. The surgeon tried to change my mind and would reach out for almost an entire week, making sure that this was what I truly wanted. And it was. I stuck to my word, and a month later, I was in surgery for my double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. I woke up still kind of looking like myself, which was a big part of my speedy recovery since so much of it is mental.

Two weeks after that life-changing surgery, my doctor emailed me the full pathology report from the double mastectomy. They found another mass in the breast with cancer - a 5.5cm mass of confined cancer. And the left breast (that they tried to talk me out of removing), well, ALL of the cells were in the process of changing to cancer, too. So if I hadn't gotten a double, it was only a matter of time until I was back in the doctor's office, getting more surgeries.

I saved my own life.

That was when I felt the most BOSS and every day since.

Banner Photography by Max Masin. Photograph above via Tiffany McFadden.

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