Kirby Lewis joined me on this episode of Behind the Pink Ribbon. He was diagnosed at the age of 52 with stage 2 breast cancer. He shared how he found the cancer, his course of treatment, and how he feels breast cancer saved his life. In 2016, Kirby had a recurrence of breast cancer that had metastasized to his lung. Kirby views breast cancer as an adventure and won’t stop living life because of the diagnosis.
Kirby Lewis was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 52 after finding a lump in his left breast. He recalls that he immediately knew that he had breast cancer. Kirby’s initial doctor had downplayed the possibility that it could be breast cancer and even after a confirmed diagnosis, delayed his treatment for 6 weeks.
Kirby underwent a unilateral mastectomy on the left side. While undergoing preliminary tests in preparation for the mastectomy, it was discovered that Kirby was in dire need of open-heart surgery. He shared that getting a diagnosis of breast cancer ultimately saved his life. Kirby was placed on Tamoxifen but experienced a significant elevation in his triglycerides at levels that have never been documented. Kirby also underwent chemotherapy.
In March 2016, Kirby was undergoing a routine cosmetic surgery when abnormalities in his lung were identified. A scan 6 months early had shown that his lungs were crystal clear. He was shocked at how quickly cancer had progressed in his lungs. Kirby recalls telling his wife that his cancer had returned. He was surprised to learn that the breast cancer had metastasized and it was not a new type of cancer. Kirby underwent 16 weeks of chemotherapy and in November 2016, he showed no evidence of disease. In August 2019, there was activity seen in his lung with some progression.
Kirby shared that as a kid, he had a poster in his room that said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”. This is the mantra he has lived by throughout his life. He does not want to quit living his life because he has had a bad diagnosis. Kirby believes that he died in March 2016 and everything after that time has been gravy.