BLACKFOOT — Adjectives such as joyful, thankful, grateful and blessed can be used to describe breast cancer survivor Kim Buck. Come Dec. 23, Buck has been cancer-free for six years.
“I feel wonderful,” Buck said. “I’m a very blessed lady and I know it.”
In May 2004, Buck was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.
“My insurance agent had talked me into purchasing cancer insurance the previous September,” Buck said. “I just went in for a check-up because I had purchased the insurance.”
Oncologist Kevin Mulvey found a lump the size of an egg, she said. The tumor was just under five centimeters.
“I had not felt any lump the month before,” Buck said.
In the doctor’s office, the lump was drained of blood and seemed to have gone away, she said. The blood test came back negative.
“I was so happy,” Buck said. “The next day, I was sitting at my daughter’s softball game when I felt the lump again filling up with blood.”
Dr. Mulvey had sent a tissue sample from the tumor to the tumor board. The tumor board is made up of a radiologist, an oncologist and a surgeon.
Three days later, Buck’s doctor called her to say, “Let’s take the lump out tomorrow.”
“He had me in right away,” Buck said. “I’m so thankful.”
Buck’s treatment included a complete mastectomy, “TAC” treatment that is six treatments with three drugs each time and 36 radiation treatments.
“On a scale of three for aggression of tumors, it was a three,” Buck said. “It was really an unusual treatment at the time because so little was known about that type of breast cancer,” Buck said. “I’m a blessed lady.”
Her present oncology doctor, Dr. Dane Dickson in Rexburg, said Dr. Mulvey did exactly the right things.
It is now commonly understood that breast cancer is not one form of cancer, but many different “subtypes” of cancer.
The most successful treatments for breast cancer target “receptors” known to fuel most breast cancers. These receptors are estrogen, progesterone and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).
A triple negative breast cancer diagnosis means that the offending tumor is estrogen receptor-negative, progesterone receptor-negative and HER2-negative.
Her advice to everyone is “Get checked.”
“My three F’s got me through everything—faith, family and friends,” Buck said.
Buck is a fifth grade teacher at Stoddard Elementary in Blackfoot. She and her husband, Blackfoot High School football coach Stan Buck, have three children—Chanler, Jordan and BHS senior Garrett.