Kara Jernigan

“The financial burden of breast cancer treatment and reconstruction has been overwhelming and stressful, and it can significantly impact your quality of life.”

Breast Cancer is a journey that no-one wants to embark on, but now I am on a massive team (code name Survivors) consisting of millions of women worldwide.  My particular cancer journey officially began in the fall of 2022 when I felt something different in my breast, but I did not prioritize it.  I had just faved parental deaths, job advancements, academic opportunities s and a heap of repositions in all areas as the world was trying to figure out life after a pandemic.

When I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, the news hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was overwhelmed with fear and the uncertainty about what would lay ahead.  I was lucky enough to have access to some of the best medical professionals in my area, so I believe.  They gave me all of the information I needed about my diagnosis and treatment options.  We decided a double mastectomy would be the best course of action after 6 rounds of chemotherapy.

The side effects of treatment have been brutal- nausea, fatigue, hair loss, and aches.  I will have to adjust to life without breasts, which is taking a huge emotional toll on me.  However, with time and support from my family and friends, I pray to join the ranks of survivors while embracing my new normal in honor of those no longer with us.

I does still pain me to think about the career setbacks.  I had to drop out of a partially funded master’s program more than halfway through.  I also had to decline a promotion that was make available as I could not complete the course of study.  I have already drained my resources and incurred a huge amount of debt.  Additionally, I am required to be on full FMLA for 6 weeks after surgery.  During this time, I will only receive a fraction of my current income.  I will also be responsible for covering all employee benefits and insurance premiums, as they cannot be deducted from my pay while on disability. -Kara

The AiRS Foundation provided financial assistance for Kara’s Bilateral DIEP Flap Reconstruction and sent her a CAiRS kit for her recovery.