Heather McCarroll – A Breast Cancer Survivor Story
In February 2017, Heather McCarroll, RN for MHC Emergency Psyciatric Services, noticed a shadow on her breast that she says felt more like a lump. As a nurse, Heather says she thought of all the possible explanations for the discovery. Because Heather had no risk factors or family history of breast cancer, she says she felt confident the lump would test benign.
One week later Heather’s biopsy returned showing there was a 2-cm invasive carcinoma of the breast. At 38-years old with a healthy exercise and diet routine, she was in shock.
Nearly a year and a half later, Heather had completed three months of chemotherapy, 21 rounds of radiation, and had healed of her surgery (all while working full time, raising four kids, two dogs, and three cats!). “I was tired and bald but ready to recover,” Heather says.
Today, just one year into a decade-long hormone therapy plan, Heather says she is grateful the recovery went so well. Heather’s risk of re-occurrence still exists (about a 15% chance in the next 5 years) but it’s not stopping her from maximizing her days. “My goal now is to live every day to its fullest, do the things I want to do, hug the people I want to hug, and never miss an opportunity to spend a day in the sunshine,” this survivor says.