Holly Kress

First post: Feb 28, 2018 Latest post: Jul 17, 2018
On January 24th, 2018 I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (Estrogen negative, Progesterone negative, HER2 positive). Followed by confirmation of lymph node involvement, and that the cancer has metastasized to my liver.

I'd had a normal mammogram in July (been doing them for 12 years), a normal physical and breast exam in mid-December, on top of doing my own self exams.  I believe it was the morning of January 5th when I stepped out of the shower an noticed some dimpling on my right breast, looked like cellulite, I grumbled to myself that turning 40 next month wasn't being kind to me, and went on about my way.

The following Thursday is went I noticed, not so much what I would call a lump, but more of a decent sized dense area in the same breast. It was almost the weekend and I thought to myself this had to be nothing more than a cyst or maybe a block duct. So I decided to keep an eye on  it over the weekend. Monday came, and it was still there, with no changes. I reached out to mom who has had breast cancer twice (age 36 and again at 48) to ask her what her lump felt like. She responded that for her it felt more like a "dense area". Ugh! Time to call my doctor.

The following days and weeks brought another mammogram, ultrasounds, breast biopsy, meeting my surgeon (Dr. Ashley Zilles), meeting my oncologist (Dr. Sunn Sunn Thaw), lymph node biopsy (positive for cancer in one axillary node). Surgery to have my port placed, normal echocardiogram, then a CT scan and follow up MRI found 3 spots deep in my liver... that was tough news to hear... and I so dreaded telling my family and friends. Next up, liver biopsy.

February 20th bought my first day of chemo and the dreaded, but expected, confirmation that my liver biopsy was positive for cancer. Of course I'd done a ton of googling :-). I told Dr. Thaw that I'd read there is a 3-5 year life expectancy for metastatic breast cancer to the liver, however I'd come across many people who were 7, 11, even 16 years out from their original diagnosis and were doing well - I told her, "I want to be in that club!" She assured us that it is treatable and she herself has a patient with the same HER2 metastatic breast cancer who is 20 years out from original diagnosis. More to come regarding liver treatments as we get closer to the end of this first round of chemo.

I'm thankful for our wonderful support system of friends, family, and at work. Everyone has been so very loving and  supportive!