Name: Kelly Thomas
Age when diagnosed with breast cancer: 33
Breast cancer type: Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Breast cancer stage: Stage 3C
Treatment: 16 rounds of chemotherapy (adriamycin and cytoxan, taxol + carboplatin), skin sparing/nipple sparing bilateral double mastectomy, 28 rounds of targeted radiation and 8 cycles of oral chemotherapy (xeloda).
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that has nothing to do with cancer
I was the FIRST FEMALE President of my Volkswagen Car Club!
What’s your go-to pick-me-up song?
Anything by Calvin Harris.
How did you discover your breast cancer?
I was sitting on my couch one morning, folded my arms and found the lump. This surprised me because I checked myself regularly and never felt anything before. My lump felt like a golf ball, almost appearing overnight.
What went through your head when you received your diagnosis?
I felt scared and anxious. As my doctors explained how advanced and aggressive my breast cancer was, I was terrified that my cancer was going to kill me. I told them I would do whatever I needed to survive.
What’s the craziest thing someone said to you after being diagnosed?
I told my boss when I was just diagnosed, with my voice shaking and my eyes filling up with tears. She looked me in the face and said, “Oh, I had melanoma. You’ll be fine.” and walked away.
Who was your biggest source of support throughout your experience with cancer?
My mom was a huge supporter of mine, especially in my darkest hours. I must also mention how much support I received from the breast cancer community on social media. If it wasn’t for other women out here showing me that you can thrive after triple negative breast cancer, I’d still be an emotional mess.
What is the most difficult part of being a young woman with breast cancer?
Worrying about everything that I feel. A cough used to just be a cough and a headache used to be just a headache. I have to be mindful of what I’m feeling and how often I’m feeling that way so I can keep my oncology team informed.
What’s something unexpected you learned about yourself as a result of having breast cancer?
I’m a much bigger advocate for myself than I thought I was. I’m more likely now to speak up or speak out and use my voice.
What words of wisdom would you pass on to another young woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer?
Cancer is extremely complicated. As a breast cancer patient you will hear stories about women losing their battle to this disease. You may fear the same for you, but just remember, their story isn’t your story.