Kristina Diagnosed at 30
I have a strong family history of breast cancer. My mom was diagnosed stage IV in 2008 and my sister was diagnosed stage 0 in 2009. So since about the age of 21 I’ve been getting routine preventive tests almost yearly. My sister and I both tested negative for BRCA as well as all the other known genes.
In early 2017, I asked my doctor what he thought about doing another breast MRI and he suggested we skip that year, saying it wasn’t necessary. I was already having second thoughts about him and decided to find a new GP. Upon switching, my new doctor referred me to a high risk clinic that had just started seeing patients at my local hospital and said I would be a perfect candidate. I made the appointment to meet with the clinic’s nurse, and about two weeks before my appointment I felt a lump in my left breast. I didn’t really think anything of it at the time - I’ve always had lumpy breasts - but upon meeting with the nurse she agreed that I needed a mammogram. Funny part of it is, after going through all the risk factors with her, my chance of getting cancer at 30 was pretty much 0% on the chart. I still have that piece of paper and the irony makes me laugh. I went through the mammogram and ultrasound on the same day. The radiologist told me the results looked highly suspicious and she was ordering me to see a breast surgeon for a biopsy. During the biopsy she also told me it looked highly suspicious, but I was still holding out hope. A few days later, when I was at work, she called with the results and my world stopped. I was diagnosed with stage II IDC, my tumor was about 2CM and I was triple negative.
I couldn’t believe that cancer was coming after me. It had already taken my mother from me and put my sister through many surgeries. I was mad and scared. The first week or so was hard because we didn’t have many answers, but once we started to put a plan in place, my mind started to clear and my attitude improved. I met with so many people in the first month, from my breast surgeon, oncologist, physical therapist, dietitian, and social worker - every single one of them was amazing. I went through fertility treatments before chemo and was able to freeze two viable embryos. On December 22, 2017 I had my first round of chemo. I had a total of four rounds of AC and four rounds of Taxol. My last chemo was on March 30, 2018 and I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction on April 24, 2018, two days before my 31st birthday.
On April 26th, my birthday, my breast surgeon called to tell me that there were no signs of cancer ever being in my lymph nodes and there was no residual cancer in the breast tissue they removed. I had a complete pathological response. It was the best birthday present ever. My mom taught me how to fight and I will forever be grateful for her, the lessons she bestowed upon me, and for her being the angel by my side through the entire process. Cancer has changed me as a person. I am no longer the woman I was last November, and I’m thankful for it.
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