The strength I never knew I had

In August of 2010, I miscarried two months prior to our first year wedding anniversary and I was diagnosed with breast cancer two months later, nine days before our first year anniversary.

I felt the lump when my body started going back to some form of normalcy, after the pregnancy. I put off getting it looked at for a couple of months, but when it started hurting, I knew I should get in to see my doctor.

My Grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 82, so I always made sure to have my yearly mammograms, and they have always been normal even the year before.

The diagnostic mammogram that I had did not show my tumor, so my doctor ordered an ultra sound… and there it was. I wanted it out, no matter what it was! I immediately did a biopsy on a Thursday. I went home to wait for my results, which I was told wouldn’t be until Monday. On Friday, October 1st at around 3:00 pm, I received the call. I’m pretty sure all I heard was, “Kelly, we see cancerous cell growth.” I don’t remember anything else, except for my body going numb. The following Monday, we met with my breast surgeon and laid out a plan of action – I was going to win this battle!

I was diagnosed with Stage II invasive ductal carcinoma, an aggressive form of breast cancer, which, for me, meant lots of targeted drug therapy. I decided on a lumpectomy to remove my 2.5cm tumor and came out of surgery on November 3rd, 2010 with clear margins and a sentinel node biopsy that showed no lymph node involvement. By December 2nd I had my port in place and I was about to start the fight of my life to make sure this never returned to my body. I completed six rounds of chemotherapy, 33 rounds of radiation and an additional 11 rounds of Herceptin, which ended on November 2nd 2011, the day before my 1-YEAR CANCER FREE ANNIVERSARY!

I learned right away that when you don’t have a choice, you can do anything! In the beginning of this journey, one of my radiation oncologists said to me, “Kelly, we caught this early and it is very treatable. Is the next year of your life going to be hell? Yes! But you will be so thankful that you did all of this.” I’m not going to lie. It was hell, but here I am and I am so very thankful to my amazing medical team for everything.

I did my first American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on October 16th 2010 in the and I will continue to walk, because I dream of a world where no one will EVER have to have their body go numb with fear after hearing those words. Because people need to be educated – EARLY detection saves lives… I am proof of that. Because WE have nieces, nephews, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, husbands, and wives… Because breast cancer does not discriminate against age OR gender… Because I am a SURVIVOR and I want to stay that way! I am walking in honor of everyone that has been touched by breast cancer… those that have fought hard and lost their battle, those that are still fighting, those that have survived and all the AMAZING people in our lives that took care of us!

Every person who walks in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event has a reason for walking – and every person touched by cancer has a story to tell. These stories remind us that the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event is more than a walk. It describes the progress we’re making together to save lives and create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. Below are personal stories we hope will inspire you to join us in making strides to end breast cancer!

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