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​Just Breathe....
We've Got You!

Volunteer, Participate, or Donate

Our goal is to help women and families focus their energy on healing and recovery by helping to ease some
of the financial burden of their
breast cancer journey.

Bourbon and Bras

My Journey 

Just breathe……this is what I would say to myself, over and over, while going through my diagnoses and treatment.  I still say it today.  Did you know that you physically cannot cry if you are taking deep breaths?

Today my friend told me she thinks I am a superhero. We were talking about cancer and how I don’t think (or see) how I am doing anything different other than just trying to live another day. The truth is I never felt sick or tired leading up to my diagnoses or even after going through chemo. I felt the same; I just noticed subtle differences in my appearance.

The first time I was diagnosed was in March 2018. I went to the doctor because I noticed a difference in my breast tissue when doing a breast self exam. It quickly escalated from a biopsy and ultrasound to a bilateral mastectomy three weeks later. At the time I did not require chemo or radiation. I recovered from the surgery and then had reconstruction three months later. I was back to my normal activities by September 2018 and followed up with my oncologist and surgeon every three months after that. As each month passed, I became more comfortable with the fact that I had beat cancer.

In November 2020, I noticed a little bit of swelling in my right armpit. I called my surgeon and went in to see her the same day. She did a biopsy in the office and confirmed her suspicion of the return of cancer. I truly felt like it was over.

I remember getting into the elevator and doing everything I could to keep from crying because there was another family in with us. Just breathe!  I lost it when I got to my car. My husband had met me at the clinic and we hugged and got into our own cars. We both sobbed in disbelief.

The whirlwind started again…CT scan, PET scan, echocardiogram, MRI, medical port placement, chemo, labs.  I received 12 weeks of chemotherapy along with two additional infusions to help to control the HER2 protein.  I will continue to receive these HER2 infusions as long as they remain effective.  

Fast forward to August 2022, they found 4 lesions on my brain.  Cancer was back.  In the months leading to this I noticed  increased head pressure and some issues with depth perception.  As these symptoms progressed, I contacted my oncologist, an MRI confirmed the lesions on my brain.  I received radiation to the 4 areas of my brain and continue to receive chemotherapy infusions every 3 weeks and will indefinitely.  

Cancer is a horribly scary disease that can rock your whole world!  Emotionally, financially, physically, just everything.  As I continue along my journey, I think a lot about how cancer impacts families and what I can do to help make their journey a little bit easier.

Just breathe, you can't cry if you are breathing!

-Kelly Etzel

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