'Lightning Strikes' When Young Girls Get Breast Cancer

"It was hard because I was such a wreck, emotionally, sometimes," Bryndza said. "I needed to focus on myself and my health and it was hard to be in a relationship when I had to worry about myself."

Anderson said that the only time Thompson became overwhelmed with stress was because her surgery prevented her from participating in summer activities with her friends.

"I wanted to have fun," Thompson said. "But now I feel good."

Feeling Normal Again

Thompson did not need chemotherapy, but her tumor was such that she has a 98 percent chance of recurrence, including the possibility of cancer spreading to her lungs. Although she is recovering well at the moment, Anderson said her daughter is still a little paranoid.

"She's always checking herself," Anderson said.

Bryndza went back to school this fall, taking three classes to be a full-time student, although facing her peers in a wig and chest expanders in preparation for reconstructive surgery in a month was daunting.

"The anxiety was greater than doing it," Bryndza said. "But I wanted to go back to school, take classes and feel normal.

And focusing on beating her breast cancer and getting through difficult chemotherapy overshadowed some of the more superficial aspects of the disease.

"I think everything happened so fast at the beginning that I never had time to think, 'Oh my god, I'm going to have fake breasts!'" Bryndza said. "I just think that I beat cancer and now I get to have nice boobs. I look at it like that, or I won't be able to deal emotionally."

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