Where do I begin… My name’s Kaitlyn. I’m 25 years young living with stage 4 HER2+ breast cancer. I discovered a lump in my left breast back in January of 2015 and was proactive with having it checked out. When I went into see my OBGYN he wasn’t concerned, in fact he was sure it was a fibroadenoma. At my age (23 at the time) its normal to see fibrocystic changes in young women. He did give me the option of going and having an ultrasound, but was confident I did not need to. I also asked if I could be referred to a specialist, but once again, he didn’t feel the need to refer me… After being reassured, not to worry, I went about my life without the fear or worry of cancer growing inside of me.
It was middle of march when I noticed my lump had drastically changed size. Panic set in and immediately I made an appointment to see my doctor. He decided it was best to go have an US but not to worry. I set up an appointment a few days later. At that time the US specialist wanted me to cut out caffeine and chocolate for 30 days, because that can cause swelling of the breast tissue. Still not having any worries, I cut out caffeine and chocolate and scheduled another US 30 days later. Unfortunately, nothing had changed. If anything, the lump had grown bigger. I was scheduled to have a biopsy April 22nd. I was told I would have results 2-3 days later.
April 23rd 2015, one of the worst days of my life, I was working and about to be off in an hour when suddenly my doctors office called my cell phone and I received a message, ‘We need you to come in and see the doctor before he goes home’ my heart dropped. I started sobbing to my coworkers and explained I had to leave immediately. I can remember driving home from work in tears thinking this would be the last car ride home living a normal life. How was I going to tell my family and friends I have cancer. When I got to my doctors office, I was alone and after the nurse roomed me, I could here them whispering ‘she’s alone’.
My doctor came in and first five words that came out of his mouth, ‘I’m sorry, you have cancer’. I went numbed and new my life would never be the same. It wasn’t until May 5, 2015 when I received the news of my petscan. That day was by far the second worst day of my life. Cancer had spread to my liver and spine. I was now categorized as stage 4 Metastatic breast cancer. Before I was fully diagnosed, I was in the process fertility treatment (preserving my eggs) but as soon as we found out it had metastasized, we stop the process and started chemo therapy. I went through 6 rounds of Taxotere with Herceptin and Perjeta. I can happily say, as of September 9 I am NED (no evidence of disease). I will receive treatment of herceptin and Perjeta every 3 weeks for the rest of my life.. Although my life is forever changed and I now live a new “normal” I am so grateful for my life and everyone in it. Sure, living with stage 4 BC isn’t easy, its a second job with constant thoughts of how long ill be here, or if/when my cancer will return. Each days a gift. No one is promised tomorrow and I live my life, each day, as if it were my last! For any newly diagnosed who are about to embark on this journey you’re not alone and never give up.