Meet Kathy: While dealing with the uncertainties of cancer, Kathy wasn't only fighting for herself - she was fighting for her family too. Read more to see how social media helped Kathy in her battle with cancer and her advice on how to keep focused through it all.
1. How did you find out you had cancer?
I found the lump myself and went to my primary care physician, who referred me to a breast clinic. They performed a mammogram, ultrasound and core biopsy all in the same appointment.
2. What was your first reaction to the diagnosis?
My first reaction to my diagnosis was disbelief. There was no history of breast cancer in my family and I was only 37.
3. How did you choose your course of treatment and care providers?
I chose my doctor and surgeon based on references from friends and family via a post that I put out on facebook. I used social media to network and get recommendations of oncologists and surgeons and then picked the ones that got the most referrals and best feedback. My treatment was decided for me by the oncologist and my treatment center was one that the doctor practiced out of.
4. What helped you the most throughout your cancer treatment?
My family and friends helped me most throughout my battle. I had a phenomenal support system. My husband and children were my reason to fight so hard. I had been married for almost 16 years and had a 4 and 7 year old when I was diagnosed.
5. What was the most frustrating part of dealing with cancer?
There was a lot that was frustrating to deal with, but the one thing that stands out most was the uncertainty of things. I hated not knowing what to expect, how I would feel, what I would look like and what was "normal". The "not knowing" was difficult for me to wrap my head around.
6. In what ways was your experience with a cancer diagnosis unique to your given circumstances?
The only unique thing about my experience is that I wanted to be able to return to my "before cancer" activities when I was done with my battle. I did pole aerobics and was worried that I would no longer be able to enjoy that activity. I had an axillary node dissection and the fear of lymphedema as a result of lifting my body weight to do pole tricks is constantly looming over me.
7. What advice would you give to someone facing a similar situation?
My advice to someone in a similar situation is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. You have to break everything you are going through down into smaller portions. Take each day as it comes, sometimes take each hour or minute as it comes. Keep the finish line in sight.