By: Candria Krywko
Hi! I’m Candria Krywko, a 40-year old Optometrist that loves pugs (I have three), and a warrior of Ovarian and Breast Cancer in Scottsdale, AZ. On April 1st, 2021, life threw me a curveball when a grapefruit-sized ovarian tumor with extensive lymph node involvement was first discovered. While waiting on biopsy results and cancer staging, I then discovered a small pea-sized lump in one of my breasts. As luck would have it, I was diagnosed with Stage 4b High Grade Serous Ovarian Carcinoma and independently occurring HER 2+ Breast Cancer in the same week. Two-for-the-price-of-one? No thank-you! The strangest part is that I tested negative for BRCA 1 & 2, have little-to-no family history of cancer, my mammogram had been clear 9 months earlier, and I live a healthy vegetarian lifestyle… WTH!?!
While waiting for insurance to authorize treatment, my CA-125 sky rocketed to nearly 4000 (normal is <38) and I was hospitalized for five nights with emergency chemotherapy. Now with six chemo infusions behind me, my CA-125 has dropped to 131, I am able to walk and bathe on my own, I started driving again, and I celebrate being strong enough to proceed with surgery to have the tumor removed, followed by a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction, then back to more chemo. This journey has been nothing shy of challenging, yet I remain positive and humbled by the incredible volume of love and support showered upon me by family, friends, providers and even strangers! I have also been blessed with beautiful new friendships among women going through similar battles. Having endured unbearable abdominal/pelvic pain, constipation, and pain-with-intimacy for 9 months prior to diagnosis, along with not knowing the potential seriousness of my pain, I am committed to spreading Ovarian Cancer awareness to all women, and to shine a light upon the warriors also on this journey.