It seems as if every family member of mine has had cancer or heart disease. I did everything I could to ensure that I did not fall victim to one of these diseases, but I still ended up with metastatic breast cancer.
In July 2010, my boyfriend and I found a lump in my breast. I was 25 at the time. I figured I would just wait and see if it would go away. I even contemplated not mentioning it to my OBGYN.
I did have a biopsy done that September, but I was not worried. My doctor called a week later and said, “Caitlin I am afraid to tell you, but the biopsy came back and you have cancer.” My world became a fog, and I couldn’t hear anything else my doctor said.
My initial diagnosis was Stage IIB breast cancer. I had a mastectomy, 16 grueling rounds of chemotherapy, andradiation. A year after we found the lump, I thought I was done with active treatment.
In July 2013, I learned that my disease came back. Although I had no symptoms, an EKG showed an irregularity in my heartbeat. Follow-up tests found fluid on my lungs, which was caused by a metastasis in the pleural lining and cavity of my lung.
It was mind-blowing, to say the least. I went one treatment for 14 months, which ultimately did not work. Then the cancer spread to my bones.
I will never be cured. It’s hard to accept that.
I keep praying I will see a cure, but it currently is not out there. I am on my fifth treatment in 3 years, and my disease is currently stable. This can always change, and that frightens me. I am trying to plan a wedding, and in the back of my mind this cancer is still there. I try to ignore it, but its there and always will be.
People could say I was not aware or I did not take care of myself, but honestly I did everything they tell you to avoid cancer. I got it, it came and it has not left.
I wonder most days why people are living with other diseases that were once considered terminal, but yet there hasn’t been a movement to cure metastatic breast cancer. I know many doctors are working on this, but there just isn’t enough research funding. There needs to be a way to save us.
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