Meet Darla: A Cancer Survivor & a Fighter
Darla is a STAGE 4 breast cancer survivor and she is a FIGHTER. She was kind enough to share her story with us. It is a powerful, moving, and motivating story of her battle, her struggles, and her successes. Read it in her words below:
“I was diagnosed with stage 4 Breast Cancer almost 4 years ago. I had a few tumors that were so bad the doctors started me on radiation treatments right away. I had ten treatments on my thoracic back and on my pelvis because they were afraid those bones might break.
“In the middle of the radiation treatments I started chemotherapy. It was rougher and better than I expected. I had six rounds of TCHP, which stands for Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin and Perjeta. I ended up having an allergic reaction to the Perjeta during my second treatment and very quickly into my third I had to stop it all together. It was unusual, but I ended up being okay without it. But with each treatment I also got feeling better and stronger as the disease left my body.
“During my 6 rounds I had to go in for fluids once, taking two full bags in, and had 5 blood transfusions and 1 unit of platelets. BUT…the chemo was hugely effective for me. By the time I had my double mastectomy all of the pathology from the surgery came back clean. I was not able to do reconstruction at the time of surgery because I had a lot of skin involvement on my cancer side, and have since decided to not do reconstruction, so I am officially FLAT.
“I did 25 rounds of radiation on the breast and collarbone area of my cancer side to clear out any micro-tumors that might be left. That’s about 15 minutes, 5 days a week, for 5 weeks. I had lots of burning the two weeks after treatment, and a few weeks of recovery after that.
“I ended up changing oncologists not long after surgery, for a lot of reasons. It was a hard decision, but one I do not regret at all. The new doctor ordered the only scan that shows active tumors, for sure, a PET scan, and it came back NED, No Evidence of Disease. What a happy day that was!
“I continue to go for a Herceptin/Kinjinti IV every three weeks. It is specific for Her2+ breast cancer, and has worked well at keeping my body clear…expect…in May, as a result of a regular scan, something was found in my brain. After an MRI it was determined I had two tumors in my cerebellum. I had surgery the end of June and the larger one came back with the same markers as my breast cancer and both were labeled as metastatic, or spreading disease from my breast cancer.
“I have since had a “one and done” radiation on the surgery site and the small (grain of rice) tumor. I had a few hard weeks but I am feeling really well.
“Cancer can be frightening, but it can also be just a bump in the road of life we breathe through, one journey at a time. Is this the end of my cancer story? I don’t know, but it’s not the end of my life, so here’s to keeping on living!”
Darla is a part of the Lifting Hearts Foundation, where all proceeds from our 5k Walk for Breast Cancer Prevention will be donated. They meet as a support group twice a month for women diagnosed with breast cancer, host nature retreats, participate in service projects, and much more for the community. Come walk with us on October 10th and meet Darla along with many more incredible women in our fight against breast cancer.
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