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In 2008, Kelly Shanahan had everything going for her: a busy and successful ob-gyn practice; a precocious 9 year old daughter; and a well used passport from traveling all over the world with her family to attend conferences, with a liberal dose of vacation on the side. When she was diagnosed with stage IIB breast cancer in April, she considered it a mere bump in the road.
And for five years, breast cancer was an aside, something to put in the past medical history section of forms. Even when she developed sudden back pain, Kelly never thought it could be breast cancer rearing its ugly head – a pulled muscle, a herniated disc maybe, but not what it turned out to be: metastatic breast cancer in virtually every bone in her body, with a fractured vertebrae and an about to break left femur. Kelly was diagnosed in 2013, on her 53rd birthday.
Neuropathy from the chemo cost her her career, but she has found a new purpose in advocacy. Kelly is on the board of METAvivor, a member of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance, a Komen Advocate in Science, a grant reviewer and research advocate. She is passionate about getting patients to the table in the design, implementation, and follow up of clinical trials. Follow her on Twitter @stage4kelly.
Kelly Shanahan is a mother, a wife, a daughter, a doctor, a woman LIVING with metastatic breast cancer.