Karen H

Karen's story

“My cancer experience has made me a more grateful person. I would consider myself very lucky to be diagnosed at such an early stage.”

Thirty-seven year old Karen Hanley was waiting for her eldest son outside the bathroom door when she noticed something unusual “He was taking absolutely forever to come out, while I waited I happened to run my hand down my chest and suddenly felt a lump. I was breast feeding at the time so I thought perhaps it might be down to feeding. You couldn’t see the lump and I felt totally fine otherwise but something just didn’t feel right.”

The following week Karen went to see her GP. They told her it was most likely nothing to be concerned about but was referred to the Breast Care Unit in St James’s Hospital to have a triple assessment. Karen had a mammogram, ultrasound and a biopsy completed. On the 23rd of December 2020, Karen was diagnosed with Triple- Negative Breast Cancer. The cancer was at an early stage and hadn’t spread to her lymph nodes.

“It was a total shock to learn I had cancer. Even going through all the different rounds of tests, it never entered my head that it could be cancer. Due to the pandemic, I was in the appointment on my own. I had to tell my husband I had cancer over the phone. ”Karen recalls.

Karen’s treatment plan included 4 rounds of AC chemotherapy, followed by 4 rounds of Taxol. She also underwent a lumpectomy with sentinel node removal. Once Karen finishes radiation in a few weeks, she will undergo oral chemotherapy for another six months.

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"Of all my treatments, I found the AC chemotherapy the hardest. At times, it could be quite an isolating experience, particularly during Covid.”

Karen Hanley
Care for your Pair

" It could have been so much worse if I hadn’t found the lump that day. In many ways, I’m thankful my son took forever to come out of the bathroom that day.” Karen laugh

“I remember being in the waiting room before my first day of chemotherapy and I just totally broke down and burst into tears. Everyone there was so kind, one gentleman in particular came over and comforted me but I was so anxious. Of all my treatments, I found the AC chemotherapy the hardest. At times, it could be quite an isolating experience, particularly during Covid.” She adds.

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“My cancer experience has made me a more grateful person. I would consider myself very lucky to be diagnosed at such an early stage."

Karen Hanley
Karen H

Karen is currently in the middle of radiation and even recently took on a 100km challenge for another cause despite going through surgery at the time. She was delighted with the funds raised. 

You can follow Karen's journey on her Instagram - @me_versus_stage1breastcancer 

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