Kathy’s Story

Kathy’s Story

My name is Kathy Stone and I am currently battling breast cancer for the 3rd time.   I would like to tell you a little about my Breast Cancer journey in an effort to give hope and encouragement to all women.

Hearing those dreadful words ” you have cancer”  the first time at age 34 was very daunting; it was 1990 and the “pink ribbon” campaign had not  been launched so information was limited.   It was Stage 1 requiring a lumpectomy, with chemotherapy and radiation but my hair stayed with me.  I knew of no one facing this disease at my age with two toddlers and a full time job. Needless to say I felt alone and scared. 

I  found out as much as I could about breast cancer with the help of non-profits, brochures, asking my doctors a lot of questions , and whatever I could do to further my knowledge of what I was facing.   The Internet was non-existant at the time!  I forged ahead with the help of a wonderful supportive spouse, family, and friends and survived living life to the fullest.  I even had to start chemotherapy in Atlanta and continue when our jobs transferred us to Miami.   Miami was another test of survivorship  when we lost our home to Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  As the storm surrounded us I thought ” I survived breast cancer, surely I can survive a hurricane”.    

Seventeen years later, I heard those words again and this time it was a Stage III diagnosis requiring a mastectomy, even more powerful chemotherapy, and several rounds of radiation.  This time my hair decided not to stick around and with the help of my husband, we shaved it off.  This was difficult but as the saying goes “its only hair”.  The chemotherapy in the beginning was difficult but I continued working full time with my daughter in high school and my son in college.  In 2009 I completed my first half marathon in Jacksonville at the National Breast Cancer Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer and was thrilled when I crossed that finish line with my family waiting for me.  I went on to complete the same race in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

This past May, I heard those words for the 3rd time and I have to say it was a shock.  I had my 2nd mastectomy for stage IV cancer in the lymph nodes surrounding the breast, and am currently going thru chemotherapy.  My husband and I made our 2nd trip to the garage to shave off my hair.  We joked that we really needed to find a better way to spend our “empty nest” time!  

I cannot say enough how important it is for women to know their bodies and do those self exams.  All three times I found the lump myself and acted on it immediately and know that is what saved my life.   

Another piece of advise is exercise now and as much as you can during any cancer treatment. There are days it is difficult to walk/run or just move much at all.  But each time I force myself to walk, swim etc., I feel good and sleep much better at night.

I am planning on doing the half marathon in Jacksonville in February 2013 and cannot wait to cross that finish line as a three time survivor!