Brandi was a young woman about to embark on the crazy journey into parenthood when she was sideswiped with a rare cancer diagnosis. Sarcoma. Only about 1% of all cancers are sarcomas. Sarcomas can be found in any connective tissue, bone, blood vessels, fat, muscles or nerves. Many sarcomas(like Brandi's) present as a painless lump but as they grow they can push on nerves and cause pain. LFS increases the risk of growing a sarcoma and it's important to pay attention to any lumps or bumps that grow or change and have them looked at by a physician. In Brandi's case, having a sarcoma and breast cancer at an early age led to the recommendation that she be tested for LFS. She was gracious enough to sit down with us and tell us a little bit about Sluggin' it out with Sarcoma.
How did you find your sarcoma?
In 2009, at the age of 29, I thought I had an ingrown hair on the my right thigh. I was around 5 months pregnant with my daughter Brooke and kept putting off going to the doctor because I thought it was nothing.
How did you find out it was a sarcoma and not just an ingrown hair?
I made an appointment to get the small bump lanced, thinking it was just an infection but when he cut into me, he pulled out a golf ball sized tumor. I got that dreadful call a week later and it was one of the most horrible things I ever had to hear. I had a Soft Tissue Sarcoma.
What went through your mind when you heard soft tissue sarcoma?
I had never heard of sarcoma before I was told I had one. First thing that went through my mind was that I didn't want to die. (Google can be the devil lol). I went to see an awesome Dr, his name is Dr Goodman, he made me feel I had nothing to worry about. He made me an appointment for my re-excision and thankfully everything came back clear. He had me doing CT scans and xrays. First year was every 3 months then every 6 months.
A lot of sarcoma survivors have mixed feelings about their scars, how do you feel about yours?
At first I wouldn't wear shorts, but now I am proud to show it off. I think I grew up a little and realized it could have been worse than just a scar.
Do you have a family history of cancer?
My father passed of lung cancer. We didn't know about LFS then, so we never knew if he was positive. Genetics thinks it probably came from his side of the family, but we just don't know. I have an uncle who had prostate cancer(cured) and is being treated for throat cancer this year. My grandfather had prostate cancer which was cured, he lived to be 86. My grandfather had brothers and sisters that passed from cancer, but I don't know specifics.
How did you find out about LFS?
I didn't know of LFS and never heard of it until my breast cancer diagnosis in 2014, my doc had me have genetic testing because of second cancer in so few years of each other and how young I was.
Has being diagnosed with LFS changed how you view things?
How do you Live with LFS?
I just accept the fact that it is what it is and I'm fortunate enough to have found out about having LFS so I can be screened and followed by doctors on a regular basis.
Thank you so much Brandi for sharing your sarcoma experience with us! Do you want to share an experience or your story of Living LFS with others? Contact us at LivingLFS@gmail.com