Kriste Ruhland was devastated when her oldest sister Karen Jo was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in September 2005. However, another shocking discovery happened five short months after her sister’s diagnosis; Ruhland found a lump on her breast.
At first, she didn’t think much about what she had found. She was more focused on the fact her second child was due in just over a month. Because of her sister’s recent diagnosis, Ruhland was persuaded to visit her doctor to get checked out. Things progressed quickly and only two hours after her biopsy, Ruhland received a phone call from her doctor informing her she had breast cancer.
Ruhland was worried about her sister, unborn baby, family and, of course, herself. Immediate action was taken and she decided to have a mastectomy and later delivered her son at 37 weeks.
“It was easily one of the most difficult times in my life,” said Ruhland. “As they say, when it rains, it pours. The support of friends and family for both my sister and myself made all the difference.”
On the day she delivered her little boy, she learned she was BRCA2 positive. Because of the BRCA2 determination, Ruhland elected to have her other breast removed and a hysterectomy to increase her odds of remaining cancer free.
"Although Karen Jo eventually lost her fight, I think of her and her uplifting attitude daily. I’m reminded to not sweat the small stuff, something my sister lived by,” said Ruhland.
Ruhland joined the Komen 3-Day family by walking in the Dallas/Fort Worth event in November 2012. She walks in honor of her sister, to celebrate her own life and to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research.
To learn more about how you can join the fight to end breast cancer, visit www.The3Day.org and register for the 2013 Susan G. Komen 3-Day.