Kelly's Story: Beating breast cancer with hope, strength, and love
She was a 27-year-old newlywed who just purchased her first home. Kelly Nardo was working full time as a Design Associate at Boston Interiors. She was great at that; she knew how to design a room and make it a home for her clients. Her customers loved her. She loved her family, her husband and her job. She had great plans for her future. Cancer was not in those plans or even in her thoughts.
Until the lump.
She felt it, small and new to her, then ignored it. She had an annual physical coming up soon, it would be nothing. She saw the doctor and they moved quickly to testing and assured her it would turn out to be nothing. Instead, they quickly diagnosed her with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. It is the most common form of Breast Cancer. (HEALTHLINE Media) It was something.
The first days and weeks were the worst. Looking back, Kelly said it was not the physical pain of surgery, the side effects of chemotherapy that haunt her. It was those first weeks after diagnosis. No one could truly foresee that everything was going to be okay. So overcome with fear and anxiety, the grief and trauma overwhelmed her and her family. Her family could do no more than stand by her on this nightmare journey, consumed with worry. It was not until her team of doctors at the very best hospitals found right here in Boston, came up with a plan of treatment, actions and details she could hold onto, focus a target on her enemy. Start the fight.
Over the next year her long, dark brown hair that looked so beautiful in her wedding pictures was gone. She’d lost that as part of chemotherapy. She lost a lot of things during that time: a sense of safety, not knowing what this new future held. She lost the right to be carefree.
But what she never lost was hope, or support, or love from those around her. Her ever-present husband, Joe, put to the test in the early years of their marriage was Key Support #1. Her parents were always, in her words, “fielding my anxiety”. Her friends and coworkers, too were part of that Strength Circle. They took on extra shifts for those not so good days, encouraging her to come out without a wig and show that glorious bald head she now donned. All of them tightening the circle, the lifeline, that carried her through.
Today, she stands strong; 5 years, cancer free and raising her beautiful baby, Aubrey. This precious gift came after battle surviving cancer, too. The miracles of science and groundbreaking studies allowed that to come to fruition when many said it was against all odds. Aubrey is the sunshine that came after the storm.
With a sense of grace and profound growth, Kelly-after-cancer is someone new. She receives calls from friends asking her to reach out to someone they know that is young, like she was, and recently diagnosed. Gladly, she makes the call to share what she learned, wishing she had this connection in her early days after diagnosis. She participates in studies to track her progress, she has ongoing maintenance treatments and doctor appointments. Cancer doesn’t define her, but it is part of her and what she learned, what she wants to tell others. She has plans and milestones to reach, lessons to learn and to teach.
She wants you to know that you can’t let age prevent you from seeing a doctor. Young women, and men CAN get breast cancer. But they can also get rid of it. It may be nothing but seek help first. Be your own advocate, ask the questions, do your research, get tested. Not knowing is not prevention. Time is what you want, time to fight, don’t wait to get diagnosed.
We asked Kelly where she would like to see donation go to those that want to help:
www.bcrf.org/ Breast Cancer ResearchFoundation
www.dana-farber.org Dana Farber Cancer Institute
www.metavivor.org/ Metastatic Breast Cancer Research, Support and Awareness
We thank her for sharing her story. Talking can be healing, or it can help save lives. At Boston Interiors, our family like so many, has been touched by cancer. We’ve worked alongside others that fought this path to healing. We lost some dear friends, too. Let Kelly’s story represent one story, one with a message of hope and strength, and the power of love.
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