KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A West Michigan woman was in the process of planning a wedding and starting a family when the unimaginable happened: She was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Now she’s sharing her story.
In 2020, Tiffanie Proctor of Kalamazoo and her fiancé Sarah Svoboda got engaged at the Mackinac Bridge.
“I did say are you sure? Are you sure you want to? And from there we have had quite the adventure," Proctor said.
2022 was going to be their year, until the unexpected news came in.
“They tell you to do one big thing a year. Well, in 2022, we have bought a new house and started a new job. We were in the process of starting a family and having a wedding, and now being diagnosed with breast cancer,” Proctor said.
During a trip to a fertility clinic, Tiffanie uncovered a hidden problem.
“We went to the doctors to get some blood work done, and she had had a low white blood cell count.”
After finding a lump and more testing, Tiffanie was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer.
“No cancer is good. But somehow I got the worst that you could get," Proctor said.
“And you know, it's a shock, like, you don't think at our age where you're going to go through something like that," Svoboda said.
Triple-negative cancer tends to grow and spread quickly. It accounts for about 10-15% of all breast cancers.
Which is why doctors have recommended an aggressive treatment plan that will include chemo and a double mastectomy for the 31-year-old.
“Because the reoccurrence rate is so high, the best bet to avoid this coming back would be to have it fully removed," Proctor said.
That’s why the couple have decided to postpone their wedding ceremony, but are planning to get their pictures taken before Tiffanie starts treatment.
“Our photographer is flying in from Florida, he said he wouldn’t miss it, he's going to do photos as if it were the real wedding day," Proctor said.
Tiffanie is using this opportunity to encourage others to do a monthly breast exam.
“Do your own breast exams. You feel a lump, push to get that checked. Because if I didn't have a low white blood cell count, I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it.”
A post on social media helped the couple find a hairstylist and makeup artist on short notice for their photoshoot.
And even though they won’t have the wedding day of their dreams this year, they’re looking forward to making another positive memory.
They’re planning to get the photos taken on Sunday, Aug. 7.
Tiffanie will begin treatment soon after.
They hope to celebrate their wedding with all their friends and family next year.
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