Family

Our last family picture prior to the start of treatment.

There are many things I expected to do in my early 30s.  Make a career shift – I finally pulled the plug on my 9-year career as a management consultant and joined the startup world. Have a baby – I delivered my second beautiful daughter.  What I never expected to do was undergo treatment for breast cancer.  All in the same year – all at age 31.

CancerAt31 is meant to document my journey through the diagnosis and treatment of, as well as eventual recovery from, triple negative breast cancer as a young, working mother of a toddler and newborn.

That said, I also recognize that life is a summary of our experiences.  When my first daughter was identified to have a hemangioma, a fast growing birthmark that effects 10% of newborns, on her cheek, we were devastated.  Such birthmarks can grow quite big, interfering with a baby’s facial organs, leaving behind scarred tissue as it fades in 5-10 years, adversely impacting the child’s self esteem.  While we were not willing to consider the “standard of care” treatment options of laser or steroids given how invasive they are, the leading pediatric dermatologist at UCSF suggested a more cutting edge treatment plan using an oral medicine previously only used for high blood pressure, but proven to show impressive results in early studies.  We were torn on what to do, but then found a YouTube video of a family who had documented their child’s hemangioma’s progression from birth to toddlerhood using this treatment.  The imagery was both compelling and inspirational.

It was the act of just one family, one shared experience, that brought us so much comfort during a difficult time in our lives.  So, while I hope this blog serves as a source of information for my loving husband, family, and friends who have already demonstrated tremendous love and support in this phase of my life, I also hope it provides information, insight, and inspiration to others who face similar life challenges.  Please feel free to share with loved ones who you believe might benefit from this experience sharing.

I sincerely hope you enjoy reading the posts and following my story in this character-building phase of my life.

Love,

Parul

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