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When you’re a healthy, active 35-year-old a breast cancer diagnosis is the last thing on your mind. When you’re a healthy, active pregnant 35-year-old it doesn’t seem possible…at least for me, it didn’t. I was in shock when I was first delivered the news of my breast cancer. I was 32 weeks pregnant and dumbstruck as to how this could be possible. After a whole week of tests, countless Doctor’s appointments, and sleepless nights I was told I had Stage 4, Metastatic Breast Cancer. At the time I was convinced I was going to give birth and die. Not only was I scared for my unborn child, I had a 3-year-old at home wondering why Mommy was always at the Doctors.
I started Taxol chemo a few weeks before my daughter was born. I had 3 infusions and then it was time to have the baby. Luckily, her birth was easy and uneventful, and I was able to carry her to term. Thirteen days later I continued on with weekly chemotherapy treatments for the next 7 months. Now that I was no longer pregnant, they added 2 additional target therapies, Herceptin and Pejeta. For those of us who are HER2+ these are two medications that have been lifesavers. After 7 months, I was moved to maintenance medicines, endocrine therapy. For 2 solid years, I did extremely well on these. I was able to live an active lifestyle, for me, that means running Marathons, Ultras, and working out as well as play with my children, and my cancer was dormant. Eventually, my stability came to an end, and since that time I have been on quite a few different lines of therapies. In total, I have been on 7 different lines. My cancer has mutated over the years, so it has become trickier to treat. My family and I have been through a lot. Yet, I have survived just over 5 years living with incurable cancer and lived to run my 30th Marathon, run a virtual race 1000 miles across Tennessee, see my 40th Birthday and watch my baby turn 5! My kids, husband, and friends in the cancer community drive me to keep going.
For my entire adult life, I have fundraised for various causes. Since becoming a Breast Cancer patient, I have become an advocate for research and support for younger women and women with small children living with Stage 4 Breast Cancer, because 5 years ago when I was first diagnosed there was not much support for young women and mothers. In October 2019 while attending a Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference held at Dana Farber, 3 of us got together and said we need something for women diagnosed with Stage 4 MBC under 40. One year later we are hosting virtual meetings twice a month and have made many meaningful connections. It’s my hope and mission to see that my daughters never have to deal with a breast cancer diagnosis. Without more research, this won’t be possible.
I continue to run, fundraise, and help anyone I can.
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