Perhaps the scariest words a woman can hear is, “You have breast cancer.” Regardless of what stage it is in, the very knowledge of the disease growing in our bodies sends most women into immediate panic. Maybe it is because breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women. Maybe it is because statistics show that 1.3 million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Or maybe it is because among those diagnosed, 1 in 35 will not survive. Whatever the reason, breast cancer is not a matter to be taken lightly. Some women give into what the doctors tell them; they accept defeat. Some merely lack the support system necessary to fight. However, there are a few women out there who refuse to give in, refuse to give up, and refuse to allow breast cancer to ever have the upper hand; one such woman is Kellie Grose.
Kellie is a 10 year breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed with cancer in her right breast in May of 2002. Kellie soon underwent chemotherapy, radiation and a lumpectomy. She battled the disease and its vicious treatments all while raising her children who were 2 and 5 at the time. Had Kellie’s diagnoses come early, perhaps her situation might have been different, but instead doctors wasted eight months misdiagnosing her.
Three years after the initial diagnosis, Kellie was diagnosed with breast cancer again, only this time it was in the left breast. This time she endured chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. After this treatment, Kellie thought she was safe and thought she could feel normal again, but she was wrong. Two years after the second diagnosis, doctors found a stage four metastases on her lung. She received treatment for that was well.
Kellie was only 31 years old when the first lump was diagnosed, and she has spent the last 10 years actively fighting for her life. She credits her children and her husband of 19 years for her continued strength. Kellie is surprisingly not bitter, not depressed, and oddly not even sorry for what she has gone through.
“Cancer has been a part of our lives for 10 years now,” she says. “It will continue to be a part of our lives forever. Cancer has made us all stronger in so many ways.”
Kellie has also used her experience with breast cancer to help others. After her third diagnosis, she founded the Kellie R. Grose Foundation which assists other survivors in their fight against cancer.
Even with all that Kellie has been through, she still refuses to give in or give up. She is currently training at the Live Well Fitness Center, where she recently shed 37 pounds. This past year she even ran three separate 5k’s with various family members and friends. She believes that staying positive and embracing support are important factors in fighting this disease. “I have been in remission for three and a half years now,” she says. “God made me stubborn for a reason! The mind is very strong, and mine along with family, friends and all of my supporters has gotten me to where I am today.”
For more information about the Kellie R. Grose Foundation, visit http://krgfoundation.cfsites.org/custom.php?pageid=35908