7 years since diagnosis

Phase of treatment: Remission
Age at interview: 41

Christa is married and has a one child. She works as a high school teacher although she stopped working during the year of her treatment.

 Christa received her diagnosis in 2006. All of Christa’s aunts, as well as her mother and grandmother had breast cancer. Even though Christa expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life, she did not expect it to be at such an early age. At age 34, Christa wanted to get some testing done as a baseline before she might possibly get pregnant; she had just stopped taking the pill. Despite her family history, Christa felt that she had to be a bit persistent to get referrals for the tests.  A lump was found during her mammogram, and Christa was asked to come back the next day for a biopsy. She then did a pregnancy test as she wanted to be able to inform the health care professionals about whether or not she was pregnant. That next day, she discovered that she was pregnant and then received the news from her doctor that they found cancer in her breast. This news brought a mix of emotions. Initially Christa did not feel too worried about the diagnosis as nobody in her family had actually died from the illness. However, when she was told that not only would the lump be removed but also the whole breast, it became much more serious and scary for Christa. She still remembers that a support person was called for her to speak with right after she received the news and she really appreciated that. She discovered later on that it was difficult to find information about young pregnant women with breast cancer. Her situation meant that her treatment choices had to include consideration of how it might affect the foetus. Christa decided to undergo a double mastectomy and her chemotherapy was planned in such a way that it could start after the first trimester of her pregnancy. During further testing a tumor on her liver was found that had to be monitored. From then on Christa had an MRI and ultrasound every two weeks. After her treatment and delivery, Christa had surgery to remove 70-80% of her liver and fortunately these tumors were not cancerous. Christa has a healthy son who is growing well. Having gone through so many unusual experiences at her age Christa decided to write a book which she named “I get to keep my vagina, don’t I?”


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