Suzanne Kirby, a breast cancer survivor
Suzanne Kirby is a wife, mother, and one of our top salespeople here at New Jersey 101.5. She's also a breast cancer survivor.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I'd like to make you aware of Suzanne's stor, so here's our email conversation.
"The day before Thanksgiving 2019 my doctor called to tell me I needed to have a biopsy right away. He started giving me the names of breast surgeons and talking about the next steps. I was confused and felt like he was getting ahead of himself. It was then that he told me, 'you are not having a biopsy to determine if you have cancer. You are having a biopsy to determine what kind of breast cancer you have.'”
Sue was 41 years old with no family history. She had just lost her mother, who died suddenly three months ago and now this was thrown into the mix.
"My world felt like it stopped. My three boys were 10, 6, and 4. How was this possible?"
And so the process began.
"The next two weeks were filled with many blood tests (I tested negative for all of the genetic testing), ultrasounds, MRI's, and more mammograms. Because my tumor was large and they saw signs it has spread to my lymph nodes they wanted me to start chemo right away. I did four rounds of what they call the 'red devil.' There’s a reason why they call it that! I lost all of my hair. I joked to my oncologist that the silver lining was that I would finally lose weight. Guess what? Nope! Steroids they give you could cause you to gain weight!"
There are no breaks with breast cancer. The next step got more complicated as COVID-19 hit New Jersey.
"I moved on to what was supposed to be 12 rounds of taxol. But COVID had other plans for me. I did six rounds and then they changed my plan because they wanted to limit my visits. So the last six became 2 dense doses. Those were tough!"
Fortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a change for the better.
"I had plans to have a double mastectomy. Again COVID interfered and I had a lumpectomy. I am happy with that decision and feel like everything happens for a reason. The chemo did its job and killed all of cancer! I had clear margins. Success."
Then came radiation.
"My least favorite part. I was told by so many if I could handle chemo this was a breeze. Unfortunately not for me. I burned badly. But my skin healed and I am now as good as new."
Now comes the next step for Suzanne.
"Now I’m taking immunotherapy to help keep cancer away. I’m triple-positive HER2 positive. Herceptin was created especially for this type of breast cancer. Before that, it was a death sentence. Now there is so much hope. I’ve had a tremendous amount of support throughout my entire journey. It was so important to me to keep things normal for my kids. I want them to always remember their mom as a fighter."
Suzanne's advice for all women is: "This October I want to remind the woman out there to please get your mammogram. I was 41 and thought this couldn’t happen to me. No one in my family had this how could I? 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. If you are that 1 catch it as early as possible."
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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