LBBC’s newest guest blogger Kate Crawford is only 28 yet she has experienced many of life’s hardships, including a HER2+ metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. Today she shares her story about how her diagnosis helped her realize her health is just as much of a priority as the health of her family…
My quest of Motherhood was not so easily sought after. My first daughter passed away from a rare congenital mix of defects. The miscarriage to follow her death devastated me. I vowed not to try again until I became pregnant with my now 5 year old twin girls. My twins arrived 6 weeks early, both staying in the newborn intensive care unit for two weeks. I welcomed every cry, every fit, every middle-of-the-night feeding, every poopy blowout and every spit of vomit on my shirt. Motherhood was meant for me.
When my husband and I decided to try again, we were met with an even rarer pregnancy complication that threatened the life of my unborn son. The thought of loosing yet another child consumed my every thought. My uterus erupted in the middle of the night, 4 and a half years ago, and our son needed life saving measures to survive his almost 8 week early arrival. He stayed in the hospital for over 2 months and at almost 3 had the articulation of a 12 month old and could barely walk but he was one thing: a fighter.
My son required therapy upon therapy, doctor appointment after medical consolation. I was busy keeping him on track. He had many special needs that required a lot of attention. When I first found the mass in my breast, I was 28 and one busy mom. I didn’t have time to be bothered. As the months went on, my body changed, my breast changed and I had more aches and pains than a woman triple my age. I finally fit in a doctor appointment in early January 2013 and I explained to the doctor about the mass. My son was still just 2, maybe a milk duct was infected I suggested. He thought otherwise. The next weeks seemed like a whirlwind as I was sent for an ultrasound, mammogram and then a biopsy.
I was 28 when I received the news. I had HER2+ Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer that most likely would never be cured. The only solace the doctor could offer was that she would “try” to save my life. Maybe the worst nightmare as a mother isn’t your child dying- it’s you dying. I realized that all along I should have feared the day that my children would be without me instead of the day I would be without them.
I started chemotherapy right away. I went every day for one year until my primaries were gone and my metastases were stable. It became tough getting around during chemo, between the 40lb weight gain, edema and pelvis metastases. I started in to radiation shortly after I stopped chemo. My latest scans revealed stability in my metastases and was cleared to have my bi-lateral mastectomy. I have been working on eating healthier, losing my chemo weight and being the best damned Mom my kids will remember. I decided that my diagnosis wouldn’t be a death sentence, but rather a living sentence. It was an opportunity to live my life to the fullest with my family despite my own mortality shoved in my face.
Kate is a wife and mother to 3 young children. She was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at 28. Despite her prognosis, Kate finds time to live her life to the fullest and inspires others to do the same. She chronicles her journey at www.thechroniclesofcancer.com.