Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Cancer Survivor Story by Kelley

Remember awhile back I asked for your survivor stories?  Saimi was the only person to comment.  So, she won a pendant for her friend, Kelley!
Below is the email I received from Saimi:

Here is the cancer story written by my friend, cancer survivor, Kelley:

"In March of 2008, I felt a lump in my breast during a breast self-exam that I try to do monthly. It felt different from my previous self examinations so I went to my doctor who then referred me to our local Oncology care facility for woman where a mammogram awaited me.  After the results came in, I was called back for an ultrasound and biopsy. The doctor was unable to get a core biopsy, so I was referred for a 'needle-guided' biopsy at the hospital. This procedure involves using a mammogram machine to flatten the breast, then a needle is inserted. Once the needle is inserted, I underwent  minor surgery where they removed a small  portion of the breast at the location of the needle.

This surgical biopsy happened in May, two months after my initial self-examination. After a few days waiting for the results, the doctor himself called, after hours, to inform me of the results. I had cancer. 

Devastated, my husband and I met with the Oncologist to discuss the possible outcomes. Naturally I was upset and scared, but the doctor was kind and understanding, taking the time to explain everything in detail, all the while jotting down notes. We spoke for over an hour and by the time our appointment was finished, the doctor was gracious enough to make copies of his notes so I could take them home and process the information.

The cancer I had is called, 'ductal carcinoma in situ', meaning the cancer was only in the mammary ducts which was good news. Since it had not yet spread outside of the ducts, my prognosis was very good.

More times than not a surgical biopsy removes the cancer and further surgery is usually not needed.  My case was not so open and shut. My biopsy did not come back with 'clean margins' meaning the cancer cells were so close to the edge of the tissue sample that further surgery was needed. 

Back in I went for what they call a 'wide excision.' It's a procedure where a wider wedge is cut from the breast around the site of the first biopsy insuring the removal of any remaining cancer cells. This happened in July of 08.

I couldn't have been happier as the surgery went well, my 'margins' came back clean and, although chemotherapy was not needed, I underwent radiation treatment in August right about the time I was starting a new job. Luckily my new employers were understanding, as I only had enough endurance to work half days.

While undergoing my daily dose of radiation, It was a comfort to chat and share stories with other woman who were going through the same thing. Despite the radiation 'sunburn' I handled the treatment rather well.

A date that will never leave my mind, was the date of my last radiation treatment. October 3rd, 2008. A Happy day indeed but still not out of the woods, I was prescribed Tamoxifen, a drug which blocks estrogen in the breast tissue. The type of cancer I had was encouraged by estrogen.

My continuing checkups involved breast exams, mammograms and breast MRIs every three months for three years. After my three year mark, my follow up appointments were scaled down to every six months. 

I will reach my five year cancer free date in October of 2013!"

Kelley, Thank you for sharing your story.  This pendant (chain not included)  is on its way to you!  I hope you wear it with pride!  Congratulations on your success story!

Survivor Pendant


  1. Wear it with pride, Kelly! And congrats too for beating cancer!

  2. Wow! What an amazing story. It sounds very similar to my gf Loretta's case...she opted for a double-mastectomy and is also doing very well.
    So scary.

  3. I'm sorry you didn't have much participation. But this story is the one we were all meant to read. xo