Share Your Story: Sherri Kalmbach Brown

A story of life, loss and survival

Hi my name is Sherri Kalmbach Brown and I am a breast cancer survivor. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40, the same age when I was diagnosed. My aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 21. I have been accepted into the genetic screening program to discover why it is occurring in my family. This year will be my first 60 km walk which may be a challenge to some, but after the journey I have had this will be a small feet.
 
In October 2008 I found a pea-sized lump in my right breast. Three weeks later I had a doctor’s appointment to find the lump was the size of a marble. My family doctor booked me in for an ultrasound on December 10, 2008, where a small biopsy was performed. On December 16th I received the news from my family doctor that the lump was cancerous and was scheduled to see an oncologist on December 19th. My husband and I meet my oncologist to find we had been placed in great hands and our lives became a whirlwind of doctors and appointments. Within an hour we were sent to the Cross Cancer to meet with my doctor who would be over seeing my chemo treatment. Just an hour after that, I had another ultrasound and biopsy done. The tumour was measuring 6cm by 7cm and growing at a fast speed.
 
The first challenge to my treatment was being 27.4 weeks pregnant, and the second challenge was what treatment would be best suited for my situation. Several calls with specialists and we were given two possible solutions for treatment. The first solution was that being in the third trimester of my pregnancy would allow for chemo treatment. Information supported that my liver and placenta would protect the baby until delivery. All would work as long as we altered the medication, conducted several ultrasounds, and had the NICU oversee the baby’s growth and development, and an OB specialist for the duration of my pregnancy. The second solution was to induce and deliver the baby on Christmas Eve, placing baby in NICU and two weeks later surgery.

Both options were provided to us with the choice for my husband and I to make. We choose to go with the first option; two rounds of chemo, delivery to be scheduled around the middle of February (this would enable us to keep on my cycle of chemo), eight rounds of chemo in total, surgery and radiation.

On February 14, 2009 we delivered a healthy baby boy who came out perfect and unharmed. Five days after the birth of our son I had my first MRI and bone scan; five days after that I carried on with my chemo treatment. The only side affects I faced was the loss of my hair, slight nausea and my taste buds disappeared. As time went on the tumour began to shrink which meant the chemo was working. Diagnosis of the type of cancer I have may never be known, other than I had stage four.

A large challenge came to my life on May 29, 2009 when I received news that my oldest son just passed away. A part of me wanted to give up and the other knew I needed to carry on. With the love and support of my husband, family and friends, I carried on with my treatment program. On July 10th I had a mastectomy performed, with pathology results received on July 25 from my doctor at the Cross Cancer. No cancer cells were found and the last step will be 20 treatments of radiation to complete my journey.

I am coming upon my one-year routine check up. Each step I make is strong and sure; after the journey I have had there is nothing I cannot accomplish or do if I set my mind to it. Thank you to each of my doctors for giving my son and me a life together.

I will walk to enable another woman the joy of life to spend with her children and family as research grows towards a cure to end all women’s cancer.

 

 

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