Carla Kelley, who will be walking the 3-Day for the fifth time in San Diego this November, shared her inspiring story with us. #WeAreThe3Day
“In January 2006, at the age of 34, I felt I finally had it all. I had a wonderful man, a career that I loved and I was pregnant for the first time. In my book, things couldn’t have been better. Then on February 14, 2006, at my first pre-natal visit, a lump was found in my breast. I was scheduled right away for an ultrasound and biopsy. I thought, “It can’t be breast cancer, I’m pregnant!”
“But breast cancer doesn’t care who you are. It doesn’t care if you’re young or old, rich or poor. It doesn’t care about the color of your skin or even if you’re a male or female. And it certainly doesn’t care if you’re pregnant.
“When the doctor told me that I did have breast cancer, my perfect little world came crashing down all around me and I was in complete shock. But I bounced back quickly and started getting down to the business of fighting back. I was assigned my own small army of specialists in oncology and obstetrics and we began researching treatment options. The fact that I was pregnant was going to be a challenge, as was determining what treatments I could or could not receive. Within two weeks we were able to find the answers we were looking for and on April 3, 2006, when I was well into my second trimester, I had surgery to remove the tumor.
“My surgery went well and the baby was doing great. As soon I healed from surgery I began a chemotherapy treatment that my doctors and I determined would not harm my baby. My obstetrician monitored the baby weekly during and after my treatment and she came through everything beautifully. The chemotherapy however took a toll on me and my body. I went into labor early and Hannah was born on August 9, 2006 at 35 weeks. She weighed in at 4 pounds and 13 ounces, but thankfully there were no complications whatsoever!
“After giving birth I had one more surgery to make sure my margins were clear, then finished my chemotherapy. Six weeks of radiation soon followed and finally all of my treatments were at an end. I was both relieved and scared at the same time. No more poking, no more prodding, and no more being zapped…but wait, if I’m not being treated, will the cancer come back?
“To help fight back against cancer, I started participating in the EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women. I loved it so much and found so much support through participating that I began running the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Dodger Stadium, and started walking in the Komen 3-Day in San Diego.
“It was at the 3-Day where I met the most amazing group of women and their families, and ultimately joined their team, Saving 2nd Base. Their friendship, love and support have been an incredible source of strength for me, more than they will ever know. I’ll be forever thankful for having met them: Shari, Karin, Barbara, Laurie, Carrie, Jill, Amber, Mark, Ashley. And all of the men behind these women: Bill, Rick, Norbert, Wayne and all of their children. Thank you and I love you all!
“I am now 10 years cancer-free. I’ve long since completed all of my treatments and have graduated to having blood tests only once a year now along with yearly mammograms. I will forever be so grateful to all of my friends, family, doctors and nurses for the wonderful care and support they provided for me and my baby.”