My name is Kelly Thomas and on Jan. 31, 2018 I was diagnosed with Stage 3C Triple Negative Breast Cancer at 33 years old. I've undergone 16 rounds of chemotherapy, 28 rounds of radiation and a modified radical double mastectomy with reconstruction. I currently reside at the Jersey Shore with my husband and three cats. I enjoy advocating for TNBC, partnering with American Cancer Society and facilitating for the Young Survival Coalition at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, NJ. Follow me on instagram @talkischeapxo.
I never expected to be diagnosed with cancer, let alone breast cancer at such a young age. There is no breast cancer in my family nor was I BRCA positive. I spent most of my career in retail banking in leadership roles. Meeting sales goals, getting on conference calls and running meetings was my thing for the last 13 years. I've been an avid volunteer for the American Cancer Society since 2015 and with my financial background, I worked their financial tent at their annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event every October.
It was evident that this year would be the first year I would be walking in the event instead of working it. I was the type of person that went to yearly doctor appointments and checked my breasts regularly as my doctors instructed me to do. One morning I sat on my couch and folded my arms, I never fold my arms, I found a huge lump on my left breast. Deep in my heart I knew it was cancer. We were so sure we caught this early but my breast surgeon informed us that it was indeed late stage cancer.
Between the closed door doctor meetings and the medical procedures I was pretty emotional.
Luckily for me my oncologist has great bedside manner and has quite the personality. Cancer was scary and I needed a fun distraction, he became my fun distraction. My doctor team obsessed over my tumors, I had five in all which come to find out isn't very common. My largest tumor was the star of the show, I felt like he needed some recognition, so I decided to name him. After a month of chemotherapy my oncologist performed an exam on me.
Oncologist: Do you still feel it?
Me: Who? Larry? I'm pretty sure he's shrinking.
Oncologist: Who's Larry?
Me: Larry the Lump, obviously.
Oncologist: (laughing) You named your tumor?
Me: What? You don't name your tumors?
My oncologist taught me the importance of laughing during this scary time and how to keep living my best life. Here's to laughing during all of our appointments and of course future appointments to come!