Ashley Fisher has had a long family history of breast cancer, so the possibility of being diagnosed was something she came to expect. She has been very diligent about going to the doctor’s office to get mammograms and ultrasounds ever since she was 18 when her grandmother had breast cancer. When she was 33 years old, Fisher was diagnosed with breast cancer after noticing a lump and going to the doctor to get it checked out.
“My family history just really made me want to make sure that I always got checked out, and any changes that I felt I made sure I had to go in,” Fisher said. “Thankfully I was like that since I ended up getting diagnosed.”
Fisher had quite a bit of trouble trying to get the doctors to understand her concerns and take her seriously. Usually, women wait until they are about 50 years old to begin getting mammograms. However, due to her long family history, Fisher knew it was best to start checking early, especially when she noticed irregularities.
When she went in to get this growth checked, her doctors initially did not find any reason for concern, and told her to hold off on getting a mammogram. But thanks to her knowledge and diligence, Fisher convinced the doctors that she knew there was something wrong.
“I had to fight for two weeks back and forth until this doctor finally sent me in for a mammogram,” Fisher said. “It was inconclusive, so we had to do an ultrasound. That’s when we found that it was a tumor.”
After going through biopsies, she found that it was cancerous. After discussing multiple treatment plans, Fisher opted to get the tumor removed, as well as receive radiation treatment. For the next six years, Fisher went to all her regular checkups to receive mammograms and ultrasounds frequently. Most recently, she felt another mass in her right breast and went to get it checked out.
“I got my mammogram done and I had an ultrasound done, and now we're just waiting to see where to go from there,” Fisher said.
It is never easy to receive news that you have cancer. Luckily, Fisher has a great support system full of family and friends on whom she can rely throughout this process, and she has managed to stay very strong.
“When you hear this diagnosis, your first instinct is to be scared of the unknown of what's going to happen,” Fisher said. “I know that whatever God has thrown at me I can handle it. So it's not that I wasn't scared. It's just that I knew that I could go through it. I can deal with it and I’m going to do the best I can for my health and act as quickly as possible. That's all I had to keep telling myself.”
Fisher noted the important role that social media has played in her journey with cancer. Doing research, finding doctors she is comfortable around, and sharing her story so that others struggling with the same thing as her can find support and comfort that they are not alone.
“I don't like putting my business out there too much, but if that could save somebody, then absolutely I want to spread awareness,” Fisher said. “I don't care what anyone says to you. Go get your mammograms, go get your ultrasounds, go get checked out. You have to be an advocate for yourself, because there are not many avenues for women to network themselves or to find for themselves a lot of things. We have to kind of rely on each other and each other's experiences.”
The biggest message Fisher wants to share with women everywhere is to stay on top of things and take care of yourself first.
“Always put your health first, and always take care of yourself first,” Fisher said. “Make your doctors listen to you, or find a doctor who will. You don’t know who else is going to be there in the end. You always have to be there for yourself.”