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  4. Kelley Gleason: Not Just a Survivor, but a Cancer Thriver | Cancer Support Community

I have a treatment plan, I am moving forward and I am fortunate that I am able to. Is this it? There it is. You know, most women your age come in with advanced Stage 3 and Stage 4 breast cancer. Being told I had cancer started a marching band in my head, which to this day has not stopped. It mainly marches to the beat of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. It would require me to undergo targeted therapy and chemotherapy before any type of surgery — the opposite way around to most diagnoses.

Chemotherapy is one nasty-ass process.

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Not only does it wreak havoc on my immune system, cause harsh physical side effects, and generally take up time in which I would otherwise be frolicking, it could render me infertile. There was a solution offered to me, and that was the option to freeze my eggs through oncofertility methods. I was allowed two weeks for the process normal fertility methods allow two full menstrual cycles which consisted of daily hormone injections, transvaginal ultrasounds every other day, and a grand egg harvesting finale.

After my two week crash course in what my ovaries look like, the rest of my treatment plan became more clear; I would have several tests done to help define other areas of concern, get a port placed in my chest, go through six rounds of chemo, and eventually figure out which surgery would be the best for me. Once my surgery is defined, I will know if radiation therapy will be involved. Although there is no history of breast cancer in my immediate family, I will submit a sample for genetic testing, as this could alter the surgery plan as well.

The Breast Cancer Story All Women In Their 20s Should Read

Each step of the cancer journey opens another piece of the puzzle box, and my treatment plan is ever changing. I have completed the first two rounds of chemotherapy and am anxiously awaiting the day I can say chemo is over. As someone who was known for my hair no need for modesty here; I have GREAT thick, flowing, gingery hair , I thought that would be the toughest battle. I even cut it short before it began to fall out, calling on the great Furiosa for inspiration.

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But it felt empowering to say a temporary goodbye to something that would have caused more effort than required in a time of weakness. No, I would say the hardest thing has been all the subtle betrayals by my body that add up to someone who acts and looks completely different. But that person is a warrior, and my transformation is necessary to fight the evil raging in my left tit.

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You can see the tired lines around my eyes, the resting bitch face taking its natural form. The general unease about the day ahead after getting my port accessed. Not looking forward to the post-treatment fatigue and cloudy head. It really can make me smile that quickly and it gets me through the tougher days. The support of my friends and family has been the biggest contribution to my perseverance, but I find that journaling, meditating I use an app.

My recommendation to everyone because yes, male breast cancer is a thing is to get a glass of wine, sit on the couch and feel around.

Kelley Gleason: Not Just a Survivor, but a Cancer Thriver | Cancer Support Community

Or get in the shower and feel around. I could have caught this sooner, maybe, if I checked more regularly. Please set a Google calendar reminder, or write it on your actual calendar. Feel yourself up. Look for lumps, look for dimpling, look for rashes.

Stage 4 Breast Cancer -- Memorial Breast Cancer Center

Watch this video for self-examination tips. Yet, a scan showed no active cancer cells in her body and with monthly treatments, she continues to keep her cancer under control.

As such, Walker has become an advocate for other metastatic breast cancer thrivers, including speaking Thursday at a lunch for patients, caregivers and others at Barton College. The regional Susan G. Visit www.

Thursday in Hardy Alumni Hall. Log in Register.

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