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Kristyna's Story

Whenever I start talking about "my story" I always think...where do I begin!? I have been documenting my journey in a journal, just so I can look back and remember this roller coaster ride.

My name is Kristyna, I am 20 years old. I was diagnosed November 16th 2009 with ductal carcinoma in my right breast (I was 19 then, just had my 20th birthday on December 11th) Here is my story so far:

Lord where do I even begin. My life has been turned completely upside down in the past month. November 16th, 2009 will forever be the worst day of my entire life. Actually November 1st, 2009 is---the day I first felt the lump. In my mind I knew it was cancer (even at 19---I knew my chances were extremely low, but something didn't feel right), I remember being very pessimistic about it and everyone and I mean everyone reassured me it was nothing. ha jokes on them. November 1st, 2009 I felt a lump and that weekend I started to worry, so the following Monday I called the University Physicians to make an appointment (I am a junior in college) they did not schedule me until November 16th (the date I was diagnosed), I worried the next couple of days...so I talked my roommate (who is a nursing major) into going to the University Clinic with me. We sat and waited for about an hour (because it seemed everyone in the city of Baltimore had "swine flu" at the time). I was examined by a resident at first, then an attending came in, they both suggested an ultrasound (there seemed to be no alarm in their voices---seriously how many 19 year olds are diagnosed with breast cancer). All I could think is "how am I going to fit this into my schedule?" Is it bad that I find cancer so inconvenient!?

So the following Monday I went to get my ultrasound, the doctor said I could wait 6 months and see what happens, or (since he could visible see I was anxious) he suggested "if I was feeling anxious"...I could get a needle biopsy. Not that I "wanted" to get a biopsy, I just wanted to get it out of my way and not worry.

That following Friday I was running around town because I live in Baltimore for school, but my family doesn't live there, so I to switch my paperwork to doctors closer to "home". My best friend's mom works at the breast center at home and when she saw my ultrasounds she immediately knew I needed a biopsy. That same day my mother went with me to get it...WORST experience of my life. I hope I NEVER have to get one done again, out of my entire experience, the biopsy was the WORST!

The following Monday I was diagnosed. That day was the most overwhelming day of my life. So many people and opinions and doctors and words you don't understand being thrown at you. So here I am 19 years old, a junior in college being diagnosed with breast cancer. Not fair! All I remember is wanting my boyfriend to be there. I pathetically called him before my official diagnosis; crying, worried, and anxious to get the actual news.

The few days between my diagnosis and surgery I realized who the most IMPORTANT people in my life. It is truly unbelievable how something like this brings everyone so close. It was actually quite comical how many people came to each appointment, scan, and to my surgery. The nurses referred to my guests as "the party".

The following Friday I went in for a lumpectomy on my right breast, three sentinel nodes were also removed. Not only was I battling cancer, I was also trying to finish my semester up---hardest thing ever!

After my surgery I also met with a fertility specialist to "harvest my eggs". ...10 mature eggs and 9 immature eggs waiting in a freezer....until I am ACTUALLY old enough to have a baby.

Following this I finished 8 cycles of chemotherapy (ACT), all while staying in school. After the semester ended I completed 33 cycles of radiation therapy.

Thank You,

Kristyna Partain