Paqui Kelly Diagnosis Story

Uploaded by drjayharness on 31.07.2012

>>>Lisa Schneider-Cipriano: Lisa Schneider-Cipriano: Paqui Kelly is the co-founder of the Kelly
Cares Foundation, wife to Brian Kelly, health coach for the University of Notre Dame football,
and mother of three. Paqui, you had three children under the age of 6-years-old when
your two-time battle with breast cancer began, tell us your story.
Paqui: I got to my check up for my regular OB/GYN and it was before school started. I
was teaching at the time and he asked, “If I was still having kids”, and I said, “Yeah”,
and he said, “Well, if you are done, we’d like you to have a baseline mammogram”,
and I said, “Okay”. So I did it because nothing appeared at that time, I was 36.
And so scheduled four or five months later during Christmas and I thought to be in and
out and fortunately, my first mammogram, I turned it into a four-hour couple of mammograms
and then some ultrasounds and we're trying to get ready for Christmas.
My husband is like, “Honey, I need you to get back for yourself”, and I am like, “Oh
honey, I don’t think I am passed in this test”, but they weren’t too worried about
it because I didn’t have any family history. I was in pretty good health and just they
said, “You know what, we found some lumps and you need to be aware of and they're probably
just fibrous, you don’t have any family history. Don’t worry about it but if you
think they are getting bigger, tell us now and we’ll take a look at them. We are going
to come back in six months just to check out”, and that was how they worked out.
Well, as time went on, four months later I really was getting bigger, playing that kind
of mind game and I said to Brian, “Honey, I also think these are getting bigger”,
and so he assumed, so get it check out.
So we scheduled a meeting with the doctors and get a biopsy and found out that the biopsy
had atypical cells and we just said, “Okay, we are just going to take it out and do a
lumpectomy”, and so we did, and after we went back there the doctor was like “Everything
looks good, we’ll do biopsy; we’ll let you know in a couple of weeks when we get
the biopsy back”.
“Well, don’t worry about it. One in a million chance that a cancer should be…no
history. You don’t need any markers. So don’t worry about it. We’ll let you know.
Well, so sure enough.”
Brian kept me asking, “Did you hear from the doctor?” I said, “No, not yet”,
and finally they asked me one day at dinner and I did hear from him that day and I was
tested positive for cancer cells. So even though I had already had a lumpectomy, the
story of my cancer voyage began that day and I told him, “Well you know honey, what he
said? He had always said about one in million doubt and I am one in a million this time”,
so we started our journey recuperating the health and getting back.
Lisa: So here you are, battling breast cancer for the first time. How soon after did you
find out that it had returned and now you are going to battle it again?
Paqui: Well, you know, really through the whole 7 months of…I had to go through a
second surgery just to make sure the margins were clean of the lumpectomy and could've
stopped there at 80% cured, but we decided to go ahead and do the preventative chemo
and then six weeks… three months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation, forgive me, 96%
cured, and we in that timeframe had a job change and then another job change and my
first official meeting with new doctor in Cincinnati in 2007. I was four years and around
three months before my marker, I had something like five-year marker.
So within that time-frame, and one of my other sisters who came along and also got breast
cancer. So now I am sort of being 95% cured, probably I am not going to get it again, they
went from 95% chance. It’s a family linkage now and she end up going through some of the
genetic testing from genomic health and they did the whole schematic on her gene testing
and found that she was a part one, and then in turn my follow-up procedure was…I take
the isolated gene and they tested that and not to our surprise but I also have a part
So from that point we’d be very aggressive and watching my…that slump. It could be
95% cured to a 95% stat that I would get it within five years and sure enough, we did
everything we could, minus the double mastectomy and I said, “Brian, you know that was a
personal choice that we made, let’s just see if I am at five-year marker and before
we do a major surgery”, and he said, “That’s fine. It’s your choice”, and of course
I didn’t make of the five-year marker and then I am going through chemo, but it was
a little easier the second time, to be quite honest. It was less unknown to me, what the
procedure was going to be and although second time around we did do a whole mastectomy to
make sure that I wasn’t going to be doing this every five years.
Lisa: Do you have other sisters and have they been genetically tested too?
Paqui: I have all sisters and so to my knowledge, I believe all five of them have done the genetic
testing and two of them are genetically tested positive, but two of us have already had cancer,
and the other one, she actually preempted and she did a double mastectomy without going
through the cancer and the chemo and has done well and is healthy.
Lisa: Wow! Good for her. So it was a proactive mastectomy?
Paqui: Very much so, and I know she called and it was a neat thing in terms of… for
me, it wasn’t a surprise to me when I found out I tested positively. It’s just more
information and even as a cancer patient, it’s hard sometimes as people look at me
just because I speak publicly about it for answer. I always promise that I am not a doctor
and it’s very personal, your health decisions and what Brian and I chose to do for our family
at that time would be totally different probably if I was 7-years-old versus 37, and so I always
tell that I don’t know your lifestyle, I don’t know people’s choices but I know
when my sister called, she wasn’t excited that she found that she tested positive, and
I said, “It’s better to know than not, all because being proactive and finding your
breast cancer early is such a huge difference and impact in terms of the protocol to treat
it and your life expectancy. So I like being at first-stage and I have been fortunate to
be first stage both times in my diagnosis.
Hi, I am Paqui Kelly, two time breast cancer survivor and co-founder of Kelly Cares Foundation.
You can reach me at and get information about how we are trying
to share and help people that need help related to breast cancer research and awareness.