Mikki Killingsworth

Age: Adult
Association: Survivor
Region: Arizona
Cancer: Cervical, Breast

"So now, I can either curse the nasty c-word, or I can just be grateful to be alive."

In my early 20s, I was diagnosed with the very initial stage of cervical cancer and had a LEEP to remove the bad cells. Ten years later it was back. When I got the news, I mentally prepared for a hysterectomy prior to the doctor’s consultation. I was told ‘nope, we aren’t doing that yet’ and they took another little chunk of my cervix. My perfect timing of about 10 years later again, last year in 2017 in June, the surgical biopsy confirmed the presence of stage one cervical cancer. At the eight week post-surgical mark, I had my hysterectomy scheduled in August 2017.

Two months later, I felt cysts in my breasts. Then the news came that it was suspected cancer but my breasts were so dense and had the large cysts that they couldn’t be sure. Shortly thereafter, the results confirmed I had ductal cancer in my right breast.  We scheduled genetic testing since I knew nothing of my family history and it confirmed a variant, unsure of if it would be prone to cancer either. Then I realized, I have the chance to live a dream; I’ve always said I envied men in the summer because they could take their shirts off and we couldn’t. So the choice was made to do a bilateral mastectomy to remove the chances of anything else not seen in the dense tissue.

See, I feel like I cheated cancer out of a good fight with a knock-out pretty much in the first round on that one. My diagnosis and fight was so simple to me in comparison to others; but it was painful internally.  I thought I was never attached to my breasts, I wasn’t one to show them or use them for someone’s attention, I didn’t have any real use for them and had stopped wearing bras decades prior because I hated the feeling. So now, I can either curse the nasty c-word, or I can just be grateful to be alive. I get joys every day I get to go outside in the heat and not have a top on.