Name: Karen Wall
Occupation: Recruitment Advisor
Age when diagnosed with breast cancer: 27
Breast cancer type: Breast Cancer, Hormone Positive/HER-2 positive
Breast cancer stage: IV, metastasized to bone
Treatment: Currently undergoing 9 months of chemo/adjuvant chemotherapy – then TBD
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that has nothing to do with cancer
I love painting! I don’t consider myself a Picasso by any means, but I have several of my paintings hanging in my apartment
What’s your go-to pick-me-up song?
There are quite a few – I have a specific “chemo vibes” playlist that I have on repeat the day before and the morning of chemo rounds. My favourite song on there is Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” Currently really digging Bruno Mars “What I Like” as well.
How did you discover your breast cancer?
I felt the lump myself, and made an appointment right away. It was initially dismissed as an infection, but when antibiotics didn’t do anything and the lump continued to grow rapidly I went back and went through the ultrasound/mammogram/biopsy process.
What went through your head when you received your diagnosis?
I immediately thought about my family and friends – how was I going to tell them? What did this mean for me? How much of my life was I going to miss out on?
What’s the craziest thing someone said to you after being diagnosed?
“At least it’s breast cancer and not something worse” and also “Well, you’re going to get a new pair of boobs!”
Who is your biggest source of support throughout your experience with cancer?
My family and friends. I have been absolutely blessed with an amazing group of people in my life who have really rallied around me, especially in times of need.
What is the most difficult part of being a young woman with breast cancer?
Dating/relationships. It’s hard enough to navigate the dating scene anyway, let alone when you have a diagnoses like cancer, how do you let someone know? Is it fair to bring them into this situation?
What’s something unexpected you learned about yourself as a result of having breast cancer?
That I’m capable of pushing through what seems like the darkest days and continue to be positive and happy – I’ve learned to appreciate what’s important in life and to be grateful for what I do have.
What words of wisdom would you pass on to another young woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer?
The diagnosis makes it feel like the world is crashing down all around you, and you don’t know how you’ll ever make it out of the rubble – but fight, fight hard one day at a time. Pull your army in close, educate, and advocate for yourself. Sometimes it can feel like the diagnosis has taken over, and you’re just a shadow of your old self, but don’t let that happen – you’re still YOU!