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Chicago you were awesome!

Thank you so much to the 1,000 men women and children that supported the inaugural Great Pink Run Chicago raising in excess of $110,000 to support the collaborative research efforts at the University of Chicago Ludwig Breast Center exploring metastatic disease.

Patient Supporters- Their Stories

 

Christina

  • City: St. Charles, IL
  • Current Age: 33
  • Date diagnosed: June 2018
  • Diagnosis: Stage 2b ER+/PR-/HER2- IDC

I was diagnosed in June 2018 with Stage 2b ER+/PR-/HER2- IDC at age 32, about six months after moving to the Chicago-area. I found the lump myself, by accident. I had not been doing monthly self-exams, but did have a yearly exam six months prior and my doctor didn’t feel anything.

By June 2018, my tumor was 3 cm and I had one positive lymph node. My husband and I had been trying to start a family for about 18 months and were experiencing “unexplained infertility” at the time as well, which made my diagnosis even more devastating for my husband and I. I exercised regularly, ate healthy, and had no concerning family history of cancer. The question of “How?” was on a constant loop in my head.

Thankfully, all of my doctors took my concerns seriously, despite all of them cautiously assuring me it was probably nothing. I was scheduled for a mammogram and ultrasound; both were inconclusive, but due to the size of the mass, a biopsy was recommended. My breast surgeon agreed that my imaging wasn’t immediately concerning, but gave me the option for a biopsy. Thankfully, my husband was there to push me to get the biopsy. The results came in three days later – positive for cancer and aggressive. The next two weeks were a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments; MRI, CT scan, bone scan, genetic testing, meeting my oncologist, starting aGNRH injections to save my ovaries, having my port put in, and my first chemo infusion. Due to how aggressive my cancer was, we opted not to go through egg retrieval before beginning treatment and are trusting that my ovaries will “turn back on” when we are ready to try for children again. During this time, I had also just accepted a home-based position with the company I worked for previously and was scheduled to start the same week that my chemo infusions began.

Throughout treatment, I continued working full-time (thank goodness for understanding co-workers and a company that supported me throughout) and I stayed as active as possible by continuing CrossFit (and modifying just about everything!). My side effects from chemo and radiation were minimal which my doctors attributed to me being healthy and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout treatment. 

It’s been 14 months since my diagnosis and I’ve completed six rounds of TAC chemo, a bilateral mastectomy with lymph node dissection, 28 rounds of radiation, 4 rounds of oral chemo (stopped early due to side effects), and reconstruction surgery. I am done with active treatments and am “cancer free,” with only a crazy haircut and one small pill to remind my daily of the rogue cells that tried to kill me. The Great Pink Run in Chicago is my chance to prove to myself that I am stronger than cancer. 

Run for them!

With 1 in 8 women developing the disease in their lifetime, everybody knows someone that has been affected, whether a family relative, friend, or member within the community – making it all the more important to continue investing in research to help transform breast cancer from often being a fatal disease to a long term treatable illness.

Thank you to our partners