missberlysdesigns' Profile

About

My story begins when I was 16. That's when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. I underwent three months of chemotherapy and one month of radiation treatment. At that time, the doctors told me one of the possible side effects of the radiation was breast cancer. In my case, this turned out to be true.

When I was 19, I discovered a lump in my breast. I had a biopsy and I learned the lump was benign. I lived with that lump for 11 years before it started to grow. I remember it was summer. I told my gynecologist about the lump and my fears, but she said there was nothing to worry about. I had already had one biopsy. Still, I worried and the lump grew bigger — and painful.

My gynecologist thought there was no need for concern, but did give me the names of some doctors to perform another biopsy. That second biopsy showed a malignant tumor. I remember th…

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  • Female
  • Born on February 8
  • Joined December 7, 2007

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About

My story begins when I was 16. That's when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. I underwent three months of chemotherapy and one month of radiation treatment. At that time, the doctors told me one of the possible side effects of the radiation was breast cancer. In my case, this turned out to be true.

When I was 19, I discovered a lump in my breast. I had a biopsy and I learned the lump was benign. I lived with that lump for 11 years before it started to grow. I remember it was summer. I told my gynecologist about the lump and my fears, but she said there was nothing to worry about. I had already had one biopsy. Still, I worried and the lump grew bigger — and painful.

My gynecologist thought there was no need for concern, but did give me the names of some doctors to perform another biopsy. That second biopsy showed a malignant tumor. I remember this day vividly, and not just because you never forget the day a doctor says you have cancer, but because it was also my father's birthday.

So, on January 3, 2005, after months of worry, doctor's visits and consultations, I had a double mastectomy. Then, in February, on my 31st birthday, I began chemotherapy.

I've now completed both my breast cancer treatment and reconstructive surgery. As I write this, I know I'm not just telling my story. I'm telling the story of my parents John and Judy, my sister Kris, my boyfriend Ken and my friends — all of these people were with me through every drip of chemo and every step of surgery.

My parents bought me Jewelry Making & Beading For Dummies so I could learn a hobby and distract myself during chemo. I loved it immediately. Jewelry making became more than a hobby, though, when I lost my job. Cancer treatment affects everyone differently. Unfortunately, I experienced all of the negative side effects of chemo you can imagine. I missed a lot of work because of it and used up all of my sick leave. At that point, my employer chose to fire me.

I know that if I hadn't been fired, I wouldn't now be doing what I love. Still, to this day, I struggle with how disheartening it all was. I just never imagined that along with my breasts and my hair, I'd lose my job, too.

There are no words to express my love and gratitude for my family, boyfriend and friends. Certainly, MissBerly's Designs and I would not be here without their loving support, advice and nudging.

I have no specific plans for the future, except, as a two-time survivor of cancer, to try and make a difference. I hope some day women will stop losing their breasts, and everything else that goes along with it, to cancer. I hope MissBerly's Designs can help make that day come soon.

— Kimberly Curtis

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