Meet Survivor, Tammy K.

Meet Survivor, Tammy K.

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Anonymous
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4 months ago at 9:56 PM

Tammy is a wife, mother, cancer survivor and a radiation oncology nurse. She has spent the past 11 years since her cancer diagnosis advocating, educating and supporting fellow cancer patients.

In a truly inspiring real life story, Tammy left her career in finance to go back to school and become an oncology nurse so that she could help other patients like her. Tammy is proof that all things are possible, and we are proud to include her as member of the OneVillage Medical Review Board!

What was your cancer diagnosis and how was it discovered?

I was diagnosed with Stage 2a triple negative metaplastic carcinoma breast cancer at the age of 35. I had just given birth to my third child. About a week later I noticed a lump during a self breast exam. I figured it was just a clogged milk duct so I waited until my 6 week check up to tell my doctor. Within days of that doctors visit, I had an ultra sound, biopsy and lumpectomy. I then had 6 months of chemotherapy and 7 weeks of radiation. I'm now an 11 year breast cancer survivor.

What is the biggest piece of advice you have for newly diagnosed patients?

Be your own advocate! Work with your doctors to make the best choices for you. Don't ever feel like you shouldn't ask a question if you don't understand something or want to know the reason for a decision being made about your treatment. Make knowing all that you can about your diagnosis your business, because being your own advocate is the best way to get the right care in our hard to navigate medical system.

What is the most important thing you learned from your cancer experience?

Allow people to help and be easy on yourself.

What was the most difficult aspect of organizing your care/community?

The most difficult aspect of organizing care is having a place for people that want to help to coordinate care. I found it incredibly difficult to share my needs with people in my community who wanted to help, because first of all I didn't know what I needed and secondly I didn't know how to share it without feeling like I was being overly forward. The OneVillage wishlist concept is perfect for that.

What are three words you would use to describe your cancer experience?

grateful, challenging, changing

Are there products, services, experiences or physicians that you couldn't be without?

During my cancer experience, I could not have survived without the women I connected who were also dealing with breast cancer. It really helps to have others who understand what you are going through. You will get through this, focus on finding support in your community.

Interested in connecting with Tammy?

Learn more about her story on her Instagram page, @tkestler.

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Breast Cancer Overview

What is OneVillage?

Whether you're living with cancer or know someone who is, OneVillage is here to help you navigate your new normal. Find relatable contentcare planning tools, and a community that understands, all in a safe environment that is medically approved by our board of independent oncology experts. Questions about how it works? Contact us now!

Tammy is a wife, mother, cancer survivor and a radiation oncology nurse. She has spent the past 11 years since her cancer diagnosis advocating, educating and supporting fellow cancer patients.

In a truly inspiring real life story, Tammy left her career in finance to go back to school and become an oncology nurse so that she could help other patients like her. Tammy is proof that all things are possible, and we are proud to include her as member of the OneVillage Medical Review Board!

What was your cancer diagnosis and how was it discovered?

I was diagnosed with Stage 2a triple negative metaplastic carcinoma breast cancer at the age of 35. I had just given birth to my third child. About a week later I noticed a lump during a self breast exam. I figured it was just a clogged milk duct so I waited until my 6 week check up to tell my doctor. Within days of that doctors visit, I had an ultra sound, biopsy and lumpectomy. I then had 6 months of chemotherapy and 7 weeks of radiation. I'm now an 11 year breast cancer survivor.

What is the biggest piece of advice you have for newly diagnosed patients?

Be your own advocate! Work with your doctors to make the best choices for you. Don't ever feel like you shouldn't ask a question if you don't understand something or want to know the reason for a decision being made about your treatment. Make knowing all that you can about your diagnosis your business, because being your own advocate is the best way to get the right care in our hard to navigate medical system.

What is the most important thing you learned from your cancer experience?

Allow people to help and be easy on yourself.

What was the most difficult aspect of organizing your care/community?

The most difficult aspect of organizing care is having a place for people that want to help to coordinate care. I found it incredibly difficult to share my needs with people in my community who wanted to help, because first of all I didn't know what I needed and secondly I didn't know how to share it without feeling like I was being overly forward. The OneVillage wishlist concept is perfect for that.

What are three words you would use to describe your cancer experience?

grateful, challenging, changing

Are there products, services, experiences or physicians that you couldn't be without?

During my cancer experience, I could not have survived without the women I connected who were also dealing with breast cancer. It really helps to have others who understand what you are going through. You will get through this, focus on finding support in your community.

Interested in connecting with Tammy?

Learn more about her story on her Instagram page, @tkestler.

More Like This

Meet Patient, Aisha P

Meet Survivor, Brooklyn S

Meet Survivor, Jing L

Breast Cancer Overview

What is OneVillage?

Whether you're living with cancer or know someone who is, OneVillage is here to help you navigate your new normal. Find relatable contentcare planning tools, and a community that understands, all in a safe environment that is medically approved by our board of independent oncology experts. Questions about how it works? Contact us now!

5 comments

Last activity by Melanie Jones

M
Melanie Jones

You are amazing Tammy!!!

A
Ashley Smith

This is great, the part about being your own advocate really resonated with me. I have found that my doctors are just giving me whatever is standard treatment protocol but when I have researched things it's not really clear whether certain treatments would be that effective -- but they could sure leave me with a ton of side effects. I just think that knowing everything you can about your particularly diagnosis and keeping an open mind is so important for getting the right care for your particular person and situation. Doctor's aren't equipped to make decisions with people's preferences or lifestyle included, it's all by the book. So stand up for yourself, you will be so glad you did and NO it's not rude in case anyone is thinking advocating for yourself is at all disrespectful to your doctor.

Sid
Sid Mahoun

I am eager to find my purpose as well, very inspired by this story. I have been thinking about making a career change into something that feels more meaningful to me but I keep telling myself not now, not with the kids, not with all you have put into your career. Now reading this it's really great to hear that she had the courage to make that change. I would love to hear how it turned out maybe there could be an update or something!

Anne
Anne Young

So inspired by the career change, I hope I can do something like that after I am starting to feel more like myself. I have definitely started approaching my career differently than I had in the past, I want to do something with purpose

Johna
Johna Fitz

So amazing that she left her career and became an oncology nurse. It is so insipiring to read stories here because they are all so hopeful

Anonymous

What is OneVillage?

Navigate cancer with the help of the OneVillage community. Whether you're a patient looking to learn from the experiences of others, a supporter searching for the best 'last chemo' gift, or a survivor seeking medically approved content, OneVillage is the place for you. Find relatable content, care planning tools, and community groups with advice from people who understand.

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