The Day I Found My Breast Cancer

A Story By Kirstin Kallini

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re spotlighting Kirstin’s story as a poignant reminder of the significance of self-care (and self-advocation) for breast health.⁣ Here is part 1 of Kirstin’s story.

Why Checking Your Breasts Monthly is Important

I found out I had breast cancer through a self-examination at home. I was experiencing some significant hormonal swings (hot flashes, short temperament, inability to sleep) and I felt around my breasts and found a swollen lymph node in my left breast. I knew something was off. It felt different than anything I'd ever had on my body. I called the doctor immediately that Friday and they were able to get me an appointment for Monday. THAT was a long weekend.

What the Process Looked Like for Me (With a Family History of Breast Cancer)

Everything moved pretty quickly after that. My treatment was taken VERY seriously since my mom died from breast cancer. I saw my OBGYN Monday morning, they got me into a mammogram Tuesday morning, I had a biopsy at the beginning of the following week, and was diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of that week, exactly 2 weeks after I felt the lump. My diagnosis was stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma, ER/PR +, HER2- (not to brag but the most popular breast cancer to have).

Choosing the Right Treatment Plan for Me

I met with the breast surgeon the next Monday and we scheduled a date for my double mastectomy. She gave me all of my options, most highly recommending a double mastectomy, but I knew already walking into that appointment that I wanted to get one. She sounded relieved that she didn't have to convince me. I wanted to do everything the doctors told me to do. I have not questioned anything my doctors advised me to do. After losing my mom to breast cancer 16 years earlier, I wanted the most aggressive treatment possible and for it to be over after one go.

*Remember to perform your at home breast examination at least once per month to monitor any changes or abnormalities. Check with your doctor if any unusual changes to your breasts occur.

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