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Success Stories: Randi Arnett

Department of Development
Homeownership Development Program Manager

Randi's photo

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!  This has become my new mantra since being diagnosed with stage II breast cancer at the age of 36.  Normally, this would be a coffee cup in my hand, but a baseline mammogram on September 30, 2015 changed the course of my life and started my breast cancer journey.  I saw my ob/gyn doctor in August 2015 and she suggested I obtain a baseline mammogram if insurance covered the cost to have films to compare to when I had a mammogram at age 40.  I do not have any family history of breast cancer nor were any lumps found.  The day after my mammogram, I was notified that calcifications were found and an ultrasound was required.  I was not concerned at this finding as baseline mammograms are often followed by ultrasounds to ensure that there are no issues. The day of my ultrasound, two radiologists came into the room and told me I would be seeing a breast cancer surgeon that day. They were very concerned about a couple spots and the calcification.

Obviously this was a freak out moment, how could I go from baseline to seeing a surgeon in less than a week?  When I saw the surgeon, he indicated that biopsies were needed due to what was seen on the ultrasound and he felt that cancer may be in my future.  The wait between biopsy and diagnosis dragged on through a holiday weekend.  At 6 p.m. on October 12th, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, a few days later the cancer was identified as stage 2a triple positive.  I saw an oncologist that Friday and my journey went from a short trail to a long distance race.

To date, I have had multiple biopsies, ultrasounds, mammograms, ct scans and a bone scan among other tests including genetics testing.  Genetics testing was interesting moving through my family tree which primarily consists of colon and uterin cancer to identifying if I had a gene that was prevalent in breast cancer patients.  No surprise, I was not positive for BRCA 1 or 2, but I was positive for lynch syndrome which is commonly found in colon cancer patients.  This information will help me make surgical decisions next year once the chemo has finished but didn’t offer any solace to my current condition.  My treatment plan is similar to many women who have a similar diagnosis; chemo for five months followed by surgery (hopefully no radiation in between).   I have begun blogging my experience to help me and those supporting me or following my journey, known as my village people (  The experience still feels surreal and is a challenge to accept when I say that I have cancer.

I am a lucky woman surrounded by family and friends that support me with hugs, words of encouragement, food, blankets and many other items that help me trek through this journey. I have become an advocate for women obtaining mammograms at an early age and am disappointed that current recommendations are moving the age from 40 to 45.  I urge women to check with their insurance carriers to determine if mammograms are covered before age 40. I wonder how many women are like me with no history or medical reason to obtain a mammogram only to learn that they are two stages into the disease.  As I travel through my journey I know there will be ups, downs and sideways challenges to overcome.  The best way to start any journey is with laughter, flexibility, patience and a good road map.  So far, I have all of the above and am prepared to bring whatever else is necessary to trek through the unknown.