The American Cancer Society says fewer than five percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer are under the age of 40. Your risk generally doesn’t increase until then. That’s why, at 34, it wasn’t even on Tori Wilt’s radar.
She says, “Typically, when women are putting their bras on, they are just making sure the strap is okay and I went like this and I felt the lump and I just disregarded it for a couple of weeks.”
Tori wasn’t scared because she didn’t expect it to be breast cancer, but then she heard the word suspicious, at the doctor’s office. She ended up being diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
“I cried, I looked at the doctor and said, ‘Im a single mom. I can’t, this can’t be right,’ and I remember just sitting in the room and just weeping and he said it’s okay treatments have progressed,” she says.
Fortunately, it was caught early giving Tori a good prognosis, after a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and Herceptin, a drug specifically targeted to her type of breast cancer.
But the situation became more complicated. During her treatment, she met her future husband, and became pregnant—a dangerous situation for a woman taking Herceptin.
“Essentially, you shouldn’t have children when you’re on it because of skeletal deformities. I was told by a couple of doctors that I shouldn’t continue the pregnancy, but my husband and I sought different doctors and we now have almost four years old, she’ll be four tomorrow, a healthy baby, not a baby anymore but she’s healthy, there’s nothing wrong,” Tori says.
And Tori, herself, recently got a good report. In August, she reached her five year survivor mark.
She says smiling broadly, “The five year remission is just , you really can’t explain it, you just fee like okay I did this. I’m okay.”
Tori’s better than okay. She’s found her mission, through Pink Sisters in Christ, her Facebook page, and a non-profit.
Once a counselor for teens, she now helps women after their breast cancer treatment a time, she says, when the support seems to go away.
“I get a lot of messages of women saying, ‘I’m scared I’m nervous, what do I do, what can I expect,’ and a lot of times I will refer them to whatever is necessary, whether it’s an agency, county assistance.”
Sometimes, she makes the referral calls for them, acting as a liaison.
Tori says her Facebook page, Pink Sisters in Christ shows the love of Christ, through its mission, but it’s not exclusive to Christians.
She also promotes healthy, eating, exercise, stress reduction, and being grateful for what you have as the best ways to fight future cancer.
Tori says her breast cancer was the worst thing and the best thing that ever happened to her because the people she’s met and the life experiences she’s had—she couldn’t imagine, not having them.
“I truly believe that this happened to me so that I can help other people. I believe I just need to do good in the world,” she says.