Kristy takes on the Hair Dare

“My name is Kristy Schilling and I’m 38 years old.

I found my first benign tumour, a fibroadenoma when I was 28. Fibroadenomas are solid non-cancerous breast lumps that come, they go, they shrink, they grow. But I had regular ultrasounds, so all monitored and going ok

Then, earlier in 2020, one of my fibroadenomas started to hurt. No biggie, they change with hormones, it happens. Covid-19 had cancelled this year’s trips to China and Canada so I thought “meh. It hurts, I have time, I will see about getting this thing cut out So off to my GP for a referral.

In early July, I made a pit stop for an ultrasound and a biopsy, which confirmed once again it was a fibroadenoma, and I was set to see the specialist to talk about a quick lumpectomy.

On August 20 the breast specialist popped her ultrasound thingy on the lump and immediately scrunched her nose up and said “no, that biopsy is wrong”.

The following day I was biopsied from a different angle and on August 31 I had a mastectomy to remove a breast that we now knew had breast cancer.

Now, from the pathology report following the mastectomy, we see that the first biopsy was NOT wrong. Neither was the ultrasound. Indeed, I had the 3cm fibroadenoma that I was well aware of.

BUT what we did not know about until August was that this 3cm fibroadenoma was hiding both 48mm of Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) AND 40mm of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma of cribriform morphology.

So, the pain I was feeling was probably the cancer outgrowing the benign tumour at a rapid rate.

Thankfully my surgeon spotted it and got it the heck outta there when she did, before it spread to my lymph nodes or beyond! So I had T2N0M0 early breast cancer.

This comes with a great prognosis if I follow the treatment.

So my next step is “the mop up job” where they give those with aggressively growing tumours a course of chemo to make sure that no sneaky cancer cells escaped to hide out in other parts of my body!

That’s where I have to give up my hair! I had my first of 4 AC treatments last week, AKA The Red Devil that takes everyone’s hair….soooo…we thought we would make the most of it and try and raise a bit of money for cancer research, because the reality is, my life was saved because the doctors knew what to do.

I cut my hair into a mullet, (the same one I had as a child!), then a mohawk and finally shaved my hair for ACRF.

I’m here because of research and thanks to research, my treatment should ensure that I will still be here afterwards, with my family and loved ones.”

ACRF would like to thank Kristy for her generous support and wish her all the best for her treatment. If you feel inspired by Kristy’s boldness and would like to take on the Hair Dare, sign up here!