Lacey Fisher

2021 Model Survivor

Lacey Fisher

On June 3, 2020 I attended my yearly well women’s exam after having cancelled my original appointment set for March. (Afterall, the world had just shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and I was pretty sure I had a cough, maybe even a headache, potentially some chills, and definitely should NOT risk it. It would be irresponsible to keep the appointment, right? Right. Perfect excuse to avoid a pap!) During that routine exam, my doctor identified a very small mass in my left breast. She questioned if I’d noticed it before and I was honest with my response in that I don’t always know what it is I should be feeling.

She explained that her recommendation was to go ahead with a follow-up mammogram and I was scheduled for one just 5 days later: “Probably it’s nothing. You’re super young and don’t have a family history. It would be extremely rare if it turned out to be anything.” The tumor was not visible on my mammogram and only seen during an ultrasound; a procedure that was somewhat lackadaisically decided upon since “eh, why not? Your doctor said she felt something and you’re already here.”

A needle biopsy was scheduled for the following week. In the meantime, I received a phone call from a patient coordinator to explain that my doctor prefers her patients see a surgeon prior to the biopsy. In my naïve “there’s-no-way-this-is-anything-serious” brain, it felt a little overkill to be meeting with a surgeon before a biopsy had even been completed but I appreciated the thoroughness.

At the appointment with the surgeon, I was essentially walked through a cancer diagnosis: what to expect with the biopsy; when results would become available; types of breast cancer; and how a treatment plan would be presented before a team. I left the appointment in a state of numb indifference and prepared for the biopsy. On Wednesday, June 17, I received a phone call confirming that at 33 years strong, I had breast cancer.

Fortunately, my cancer was very early onset and I was a candidate for breast conservation surgery. I elected to have a lumpectomy of the tumor and nearby lymph nodes followed by 21 total rounds of radiation with 5 years of hormone therapy. No one is prepared to receive a cancer diagnosis.

At 33 years year strong, several years before mammograms are even recommended for women, and having zero family history of the disease, I was especially taken aback. Even now, it’s strange to call myself a “cancer survivor.” As the Executive Director of Kansas City Corporate Challenge -- a program with health, wellness, and camaraderie at the very core of its mission -- I have been given a platform to reach many people.

My hope is to use this platform and ultimately be seen as the posterchild for the importance of annual wellness checks, self-exams, and early detection. It truly can save a life. Cancer is a scary disease and it’s certainly not lost on me how lucky I am to have only had a “touch” of it. Care enough about yourselves and those that love you to take charge of your health.