In the face of adversity, breast cancer surivior Ashley Bell emerged not only as a survivor but as a beacon of strength, hope, and advocacy for those navigating the treacherous waters of metastatic breast cancer.
Diagnosed with HER2+ ER- PR- metastatic invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer April 2021, Bell’s life took an unexpected turn that would challenge her physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Bell initially discovered a lump two years prior, but was dismissed by doctors who believed she was too young to worry about cancer.
Undeterred, Bell persisted with the lump for an entire year, as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, limiting access to healthcare. Tragically, what began as an oversight evolved into metastatic breast cancer.
A Shocking Diagnosis and Solitary Reflection
At the time of her diagnosis, Bell was just 34 years old. With no prior family history of cancer, she found herself grappling with a diagnosis that would alter the course of her life forever.
“I was shocked to say the least. I didn’t know how to feel because I was by myself, I’m single, I don’t have any children — so in that moment I just felt my life flash before my eyes,” Bell shares adding that she felt like her chance of getting married and having kids were slipping away.
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In the subsequent months, Bell sought treatment at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center undergoing tests to understand the nature of her breast cancer.
“We did all these tests to figure out why…nobody could understand why because I had no symptoms,” Bell, who refers to herself as a unicorn adds.
Despite not carrying the BRCA gene and lacking a family history of cancer, she was diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer, a subtype that posed its own set of challenges.
Navigating Treatment and Unforeseen Complications
Embarking on chemotherapy in May 2021, Bell faced eight grueling rounds of chemotherapy treatment. The treatment took a toll on her