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Karen was diagnosed when she was 27. While her life has changed, she refers to herself as a breast cancer thriver, not a survivor, highlighting that while it’s a big portion of her life, it’s a small part of who she is.

This is Karen’s story.

Diagnosis: I found a lump in my breast at the end of January, beginning of February, of this year. I went to my doctor right away, but because I was only 27 and there’s no history of breast cancer in my family, it was assumed I probably just had a bit of an infection in my duct or something. Even though that’s rare for somebody my age who doesn’t have kids, I was told it still happens, so I was prescribed antibiotics and was told to come back if it didn’t go away in a week.

I went back a week later because it was still there; it had even grown a bit. I was sent for an ultrasound about two weeks later. At that time, the radiologist said I needed to schedule a biopsy and a mammogram. After that, it all happened really quickly. A week later, I was told that the scan showed the cancer had spread to my bones. I had metastatic breast cancer.

I was absolutely devastated.

Treatment: Right now, I’m rounds of chemo out from being done, and I plan on going skydiving and travelling a lot. Those are the two big things on my list right now.

I have an amazing group of people around me. My family has been incredibly supportive; they always have been my entire life. I’ve heard a lot of nightmare stories of people losing their friends, just falling by the wayside because they don’t know how to deal with it. Luckily, I have incredibly supportive friends I’ve been able to talk to. I feel very blessed to have the people that I have in my life.

Living with mBC: Everything has changed. I started my career about three years ago. I was just starting my life. With a diagnosis like this you realize what’s important in life and what’s not. So much of what we worry about day-to-day is so completely unimportant and irrelevant to the big picture. All the things in our lives that we worry or get anxious about that are completely meaningless, I just don’t worry about anymore. For me, it’s about living my life how I want to live it, and how I’ve always wanted to live it, but now I have the power or the drive to do whatever makes me happy. I don’t care about what anybody else thinks or what people think I should do.
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