“From every wound, there is a scar, and every scar tells a story. A story that says ‘I survived’.”
Kim was diagnosed with stage 2b invasive lobular carcinoma but that didn’t end her spirit of life. She fought back with all her might and survived cancer like a champion. Now, she runs Smile Through The Fog – a blog about her journey to inspire others.
“Two years ago, on May 13, 2016, I was diagnosed with stage 2b invasive lobular carcinoma. I was lying in bed one night when I had a sudden feeling to do a self-exam never thinking in a million years that I would find anything. The moment I felt the lump, my gut feeling knew deep down what it was but I naively hoped I was too young.”
“The next few weeks were a blur. I was sent in for numerous scans and blood work and quickly underwent a lumpectomy to remove the 4.5 cm tumor. Because the tumor was aggressive, I was put through 8 cycles of dose-dense chemotherapy, 28 treatments of radiation, and am now on hormone therapy for the next 5+ years.
As I neared the end of treatment, a second opinion on my pathology report found my margins weren’t clear and there was a possibility I still had cancer remaining in my breast. I underwent a bilateral mastectomy with immediate latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction 6 months later and have since had 2 more surgeries to exchange for implants and do fat grafting and breast revisions.”
Motivation to fight cancer
“When I was first diagnosed, I went straight into fight mode and found strength in myself I never knew existed. I was willing to do whatever it took to get rid of this beast and wasn’t going to let it get the best of me. There were times when I could barely muster the energy to get out of bed, but I continued to encourage myself to keep going even if it meant just getting out for a short walk around the block. Even the smallest victories motivated me to keep fighting forward!”
The biggest hindrance
“The most difficult parts of this journey have been trying to navigate life after cancer. When I was in active treatment, I felt like I had this security blanket wrapped, but as soon as that was ripped away, I felt raw and vulnerable. My future seemed so uncertain and I struggled with the fear of recurrence. It wasn’t until I connected with other young survivors from across the globe that I realized I was not alone.”
Message to other fighters
“Be patient and more forgiving of yourself when you struggle to achieve the things you once did before cancer. Strive for progress and not perfection. And surround yourself with the ones who understand more than anyone what’s it’s like to go through this because alone we may be strong but together we are unstoppable.”