Feeling Invincible At 28 And Finding My Own Lump Changed My Life

Hayley McIntire was only 28 when she felt a lump in her breast one day and thought it was nothing. While she was working on a special collaboration project with Keep A Breast and was to be breast casted to be part of one of our exhibitions, she decided to get a biopsy after learning about the importance of early detection. We interviewed her and she shared with us what happened after. This is the advice she has for young women (and men) everywhere.

What is your spirit animal?

A bat

When was your diagnosis and how old were you?

In 2010, I was 28.

How did you find out you had breast cancer? 

I had a lump in my breast, but thought I was too young to be diagnosed with breast cancer, so let it go for months. Dancing and drinking away. Then I went in and found out it actually was cancer,  it had spread to my lymph nodes. No bueno.

Who was the first person you confided in about your illness?

My mom, I called her as I walked out of work like a zombie, brain dead, and she got on the first flight from Florida to be with me.

Tell us something about yourself that people probably don’t know?

I have cancer. Most people don’t know, and would never know, because I look like a normal person and do normal things. I have the living with cancer game figured out, and I GUARANTEE you, if you did not know, you wouldn’t have a clue.

After your treatment, what do you now make time for in your day?

I make time in my day to appreciate the love I have in my life, before all this I took so much for granted. My boyfriend got together with me right when I was getting re-diagnosed, knowing darn well it was going to be an uphill battle, a long one. He has changed my entire view on tolerance, patience, true love and above all that LOVE CONQUERS ALL. I truly believe that he was an angel that was sent to me. Sometimes I’ll put flowers on his porch for no reason, or draw him a picture to try and show him how much I appreciate him. Cooking’s out of the question though, he’s good on my cooking, LOL. I always call my Mom, there’s nothing like a good talk with your mama.

If you could be a superhero, what would your super powers be?

It would be to read minds. It would be so interesting to hear what people really thought vs. what they say.

What advice would you give to someone recently diagnosed?

That you’re going to be OK! It feels like the world is ending, but in reality we are so fortunate to live in a time where there is not only so many treatments currently available, but within the next 5 years, there will be some space age sh*t out there. We are all going to be OK! Also, that the power of your MIND is what will guide you through this. Its the strongest muscle in your body, get educated and figure out exactly what’s happening to you. Then get your treatment and get back to your life!

If someone wrote a biography about you what would the title be?

Are You F*cking Kidding Me?

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?   

DONT DO IT!…that is all.

What was the toughest challenge you faced?

I think its a toss up between losing my hair as a fairly vain blonde California girl at 28 and then having to lose it again with the added bonus of knowing I’ll be living with cancer for the rest of my life. This time around, there is no ‘cure’, only ways to manage it. The day I found out it’s not just a dance with chemo again and then your fine was a very very tough thing to face/hear/know.

When do you laugh the most?

When I’m with my best friend Malek, whom I’ve known since I was two years old. We can talk almost entirely by way of inside jokes and eye movements. She makes me laugh every single day.

If you could go back in time to any event, what would it be?

Probably this one day I produced and directed this epic photo shoot in Malibu at a Mansion. I had done photo shoots before, but this one was different. I really felt like I’d “made it” in my career. The results were amazing and it was one of the most gratifying moments of my life.

If you could travel anywhere where would it be and why?

South of France & Monaco, baby! And I mean…. why not, would be the real question. I just want to see where the epicenter of fabulousness came from, visit the Quicksilver headquarters and see whatever else is going on down there. Also drink champagne on a yacht or two. I would enjoy that. 😉

“I found my lump at age 28. Thinking I was invincible, being so young and all, I didn’t go in right away and waited months. It’s so important you examine yourself often and go in at the first sign of anything! I had a double mastectomy followed by chemo and radiation. I kicked cancers ass! If I can go through all of this without skipping a beat, anyone can. It’s so important to BE AWARE, and act responsibly with your health!” – Hayley McIntire

Visit checkyourselfie.org to download our Check Yourself! app and schedule a monthly self-check to protect your boobies! Don’t forget to also post  a #CHECKYOURSELFIE and challenge 3 of your friends to do the same!

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