In 2012, Stasi Trout’s world was shaken when she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Following her treatment, she registered for her local Race for the Cure® in Columbus, Ohio, and her team has raised more than $80,000 to support Komen’s work to end breast cancer. This is her story in her own words.
In 2012, breast cancer was the furthest thing from my mind. Seven years earlier, my mom had gone through a diagnosis and treatment when she was in her 70s, but it was in the early stages and didn’t require chemotherapy. I was 43, healthy and active – I worked part-time as a fitness instructor and was very involved in my kids’ school and activities. I stayed on top of my health and was at a regular appointment with my OB/GYN, when my doctor noticed an abnormality in my breast that concerned her. I didn’t think much of it – I had just had a clear mammogram six weeks earlier – but scheduled a biopsy based on my doctor’s recommendation.
The day I received the results is the moment I will never forget. It was June, and I was getting ready to take my kids, then 7 and 9, to the neighborhood pool. When I saw it was the oncology center calling, I grabbed a loose piece of paper off the counter and walked into the other room. The oncologist confirmed that I had stage 2A ER/PR-positive breast cancer and it had spread to my lymph nodes. I took extensive notes on what turned out to be a handmade Father’s Day card my daughter had made for my husband and hung up the phone. When I walked back into the kitchen, my son looked at me and asked, “Well, you have breast cancer, don’t you?” Even though he was just 9, he was very intuitive. My husband is an OB/GYN, so we have always been a family open about medicine and health. I confirmed, and my daughter said, “But you’re going to be a survivor, right?”
I was overwhelmed with emotions but said, “Yes, I do. And yes, I’m going to be a survivor, and I have to go to the doctor today.” The next few hours were a blur. I took the kids to the pool, and thankfully, our neighbors offered to watch them so I could go meet with my oncologist. My treatment included a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction followed by four rounds of chemotherapy and 10 years of tamoxifen.
Thankfully, I responded well to treatment and didn’t get sick from the chemotherapy. I did struggle at first with lymphedema and was frustrated about having to constantly wear a sleeve. My kids were resilient and rolled with it as best as they could. My daughter struggled the most. She never wanted to see me without a head covering, and she was scared. It was a challenging time, but we got through it. If you were to ask either of them what they remember from my treatment, they will say something along the lines of, “Not much, but we kept the story alive.” We kept my story alive through the Columbus Race for the Cure.
My husband and I are both runners and had participated in the event in the past to support friends, but after my diagnosis, I knew I wanted to do more. I started my own team – Stasi’s Supporters – in 2012, and we have raised more than $80,000 for Susan G. Komen over the last 12 years. I feel blessed to have had a good outcome and to be able to share my story with others, not just to raise awareness about breast cancer, but to also support those who’ve recently been diagnosed. I’ve connected with them through the community, through my fitness classes and even through Race for the Cure. I have become good friends with some of the fellow survivors I’ve met since my diagnosis, and we joke that we’re “breast friends.” That’s why I’m doing this. I don’t want “breast friends,” I want best friends. And that’s why I’m going to keep running and keep fundraising until we find the cures for all breast cancer.
Statements and opinions expressed are that of the individual and do not express the views or opinions of Susan G. Komen. This information is being provided for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Persons with breast cancer should consult their healthcare provider with specific questions or concerns about their treatment.