Klara Diagnosed at age 28
My journey began in late July 2007. I was 27 and a wife, mother of a 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter, and a full-time nursing student. With all of that going on, I didn’t have time to deal with the lump I felt in my right breast. I didn’t think it was anything but a clogged milk duct. Thankfully, my husband was concerned and hounded me to have it checked out.
Two weeks later, I had a previously scheduled appointment with my GYN. With no family history of breast cancer, being young and having just weaned my daughter, we decided to recheck it in a month to see if it went away. When mid-September rolled around, my now 28-year-old self was confident that it had remained the same size and was still just a clogged duct. So, I was surprised to learn that it had grown.
The following week, I met with the surgeon. He determined that I needed an ultrasound and mammogram. Those led to a biopsy on Thursday, October 11. On Monday, October 15, at 2:22 pm, I had just returned home from nursing clinical when the phone rang. It was the surgeon telling me what I had feared but still didn’t expect. I was right though, it was a clogged duct, it just happened to be clogged with a nearly 5-centimeter tumor. More specifically, it was stage 2B Estrogen and Progesterone Positive/HER 2 negative Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer.
On Thursday, October 25, I had a right sided mastectomy with 14 lymph nodes removed (two of which were malignant). Over the next couple of months - and while still in nursing school - I underwent four rounds of chemo. I was supposed to have four more, however, the 4th round nearly succeeded in what the cancer did not. I wasn’t aware of much during my week in the hospital, but I later learned that my family was told to prepare for the worst. After that scare, my Oncologist and I decided to fight any rogue cancer cells by removing all estrogen from my body through surgery and medications. Since I was so young at the time of my diagnosis, I continue to take Arimidex and will do so for years to come.
Seven months after my diagnosis, I graduated with honors. Shortly after, I passed my board and became a Registered Nurse. I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. It took me a while to figure out the why, but it has shown in one big way: I work with Breast Cancer survivors and women living with Metastatic Breast Cancer with their emotional healing in the form of retreats as the Program Director for Breast Cancer Recovery. Doing this amazing job makes what I went through worth it!
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