Name: Krystie Graham
Occupation: 911 Dispatcher
Breast cancer type: ER- PR- Her2+
Breast cancer stage: Stage 2
Treatment: Partial Mastectomy, 4 rounds of Doxorubicin (AC), 12 rounds of Paclitaxel (Taxol), 18 rounds of Herceptin, Axillary Lymph Node Dissection and Bilateral Mastectomy with Reconstruction
What’s your go to pick me up song:
I can’t name just one! These would be the top few: Men at Work – Down Under, Grace VanderWaal – So Much More Than This, Matthew Good Band – Look Happy It’s the End of the World, and Sean Paul – Touch the Sky.
Tell us a fun fact that has nothing to do with cancer:
I was once recognized by the mayor of my city for helping to catch a fraud suspect while I was grocery shopping. As the police were just showing up, he ran from the scene. I chased him across six lanes of live traffic in flip flops, keeping him in sight, until he ran into a restaurant washroom and was arrested.
How did you discover your breast cancer?
I was lying in bed watching, “The Bachelor”, and scratched my chest feeling a very hard lump. I instantly knew what it was because I had a feeling that something was “off” with my body for a long period of time.
What went through your head when you received your diagnosis?
I remember dropping to the ground, in tears, and was so terrified of what was to come. I thought about death, chemotherapy and that the life I had planned out in my head may no longer be possible. It was incredibly overwhelming to say the least.
What’s the craziest thing someone said to you after being diagnosed?
I don’t blame people for how insensitive their comments may seem, but two things really stuck with me. The first comment was, “Well at least it’s an easy cancer!” The second was, “Well at least you can get new boobs!” Nothing about breast cancer is “easy”, and I didn’t want or need new boobs. Reconstruction is the absolute furthest thing from what most people would call a boob job.
Who has been your biggest source of support throughout your experience with cancer?
My fiance, parents and pets. I don’t know what I would have done without them!
What is the most difficult part of being a young woman with breast cancer?
I feel like most people around my age can’t relate to dealing with cancer, and unfortunately this causes a big disconnect. I found that some of my friendships fell apart, and that some of the people I thought would step up and be supportive didn’t really do so. On the flip side, some people who I hadn’t expected to be there for me really came through and I am grateful for that.
What’s something unexpected you learned about yourself as a result of breast cancer?
I learned that it is okay to ask for help! I have been very independent my entire life, and I really had to give a lot of that independence up and let others help me.
In one sentence, what words of wisdom would you pass on to another young woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer?
Reach out to other young women who have been in, or are currently in, a similar situation. We are more than happy to share information and offer love and support!
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