My name is Kelly Stars…a wife, mom of a two year old and a pediatric nurse practitioner. I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer/BRCA 1 Positive in 2014 when I was 28 years old. I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was 14—she was diagnosed at 36 and passed away at 41 years old. At that time, we had no knowledge about the BRCA gene as there was no other family history. I found my lump on my own after having just had an ultrasound and MRI 6 months prior. I rapidly underwent a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Stage 1, no nodes, so thankful.
Chemotherapy put me into premature ovarian failure…I was told I would never get pregnant on my own. I chose not to freeze my eggs primarily out of fear due to the time it would take and how quickly my breast cancer had grown. After two failed cycles of IVF, including purchasing donor eggs, my husband and I decided we would either try IVF once more or give up. We finally got pregnant NATURALLY and had our angel baby in October of 2020. Halo Lyn
After having my baby girl, my plan was for a prophylactic hysterectomy due to the BRCA1 mutation. I turned 37 in February of 2023 so I scheduled a consult with the surgeon. In the meantime, I continued my routine ovarian screening—-I had that screening in February 2023 and was horrified to find a mass on my ovary. My worst nightmare—I was diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer that same month. I went in for a complete hysterectomy as quickly as possible, by the grace of god they were able to remove all of the cancer and my lymph nodes tested negative. I finished 6 rounds of chemo for a second time in July and will be on Lynparza for 2 years to prevent reoccurrence.
I feel lucky to be here…almost like I’ve cheated death twice. I know I am still here for a reason and I encourage anyone with or without family history to be screened regularly and to advocate for themselves if they feel something is not right—it saved my life twice and I am forever grateful for advances in technology/treatment and my amazing medical team who love me as if I was family.
Because of me, my little sister now has the knowledge that she is also BRCA1 positive and with strength and guidance can make an informed decision to hopefully PREVENT a cancer diagnosis, I did not get that chance but I am so thankful that she does. Thank you to my beautiful family for supporting me through all of the ups and downs that come along with two cancer diagnoses–Special thank you to my husband, my amazing daughter, my dad and my mother in law—you are the true MVPs!