Anatone woman shares her story of surviving rare case of breast cancer
ANATONE, WA —
"They would always used to say "early detection is key" and I always thought it was one of those weird slogans that was never going to apply to me,” said Holly Heitstuman, breast cancer survivor.
But it did; and that slogan possibly saved 26-year-old Holly Heitstuman’s life.
In May of 2015, she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at the age of 25. She says a doctor suggested she have an MRI breast scan because of her family’s medical history.
"At the time there was no lesion, there was nothing I can feel, no lump and I had a breast MRI about a month later and they found a 1.43 centimeter tumor in my left breast,” said Heitstuman.
This is what the tumor looked like. Heitstuman said it was about the size of a pencil eraser. After the detection, that’s when her battle began.
"I had 16 weeks of chemotherapy before surgery, I had a double mastectomy and then I had six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy after my surgery,” said Heitstuman.
But Heitstuman wasn’t alone I her battle. Her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks after her diagnosis. She says her grandmother gave her strength to keep fighting.
"Going to chemo every week with her was huge,” said Heitstuman. “We would have it at the same day at the same time and I couldn't look beside me and see an 80-year-old woman doing it and so I couldn't feel sorry for myself."
Heitstuman says her grandmother, friends and family all helped her get through her treatment. She says she also wants to thank the Gina Quesenberry Foundation. The foundation not only helped Heitstuman financially but also mentally.
"It's huge to be able to know people that are there for you that you don't even hardly know that don't have to be there but they are there for you still,” said Heitstuman.
Holly Heitstuman is breast cancer free. She hopes by telling her story she can raise awareness and is currently working on an online blog to help young women who are battling breast cancer.