The Drs: Battling Breast Cancer At 24
The Doctors shared that approximately one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer over her lifetime. But for one woman, it became her reality at 24 years of age. She shared that she swam competitively for 16 years, so she was used to taking good care of her body. Now, she said when she looks back at those pictures, it looks like a woman who had died, because she no longer has a connection to that person. In May 2013, she felt off all the time, but when she tried to talk about it, people thought she was just depressed. She blamed it on not getting enough rest until she discovered a lump in her breast.
She rushed over to the doctor and had an ultrasound followed by a mammogram. She knew the odds were in her favor for it not be breast cancer because of her age. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at 24, and it was aggressive. It had spread to her armpits and lymph nodes as well. She had six months of chemo and started radiation, which “burnt her skin into a goo almost.” She also started hormone therapy which sent her body into early menopause.
She ended up having a double mastectomy and had both of her lymph nodes removed in November 2013. She said she went into surgery with a beautiful body, and came out disfigured. When treatment ended, she felt alone and was scared of recurrence. She came across Reimagine, a group that helps people get back to their lives after cancer.
The Drs: Reimagine Program Offers Help To Cancer Survivors
Her name is Kayla and she joined The Doctors on the show to share that she finished treatment in April of 2014 and has been in remission for about nine months now. Kayla shared that goal setting helped her a lot and helped her get through every aspect of treatment. She also learned to be in tune with her body, and know when something is off.
The Doctors welcomed Kristin MacDermott, the founder and president of Reimagine, who said people don’t often realize that it’s the “after” that can be emotionally devastating and traumatic. Kristin explained that there’s something call post-traumatic growth that they believe in, which basically says that you can emerge from a trauma feeling better than you did before. She said they take people through that process in order to regain a sense of control.
Kayla shared that she wants to do anything she can to change the cancer experience for everyone who’s life it touches, whether it be the patient, survivor, or caregiver. She wants people to find joy and help afterward as well as throughout the process.