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Lisa Schneider-Cipriano: Paqui Kelly is the co-founder of the Kelly Cares Foundation,
wife to Brian Kelly, head coach for the University of Notre Dame Football, and mother of three.
Paqui, why is it so important to be proactive and monitor your health?
Paqui Kelly: Well, I mean we all have very busy lives and I know we all prioritize our
list from day-to-day and I am pretty certain that on every given day sometimes I have a
new thing going that I am going to disappoint somebody today, because I am not going to
get my whole list done. But for someone like me who was generally a healthy person, and
my doctor just said, “Hey, by the way, we'd like you to do this before you're 40,” and
I am 37, and I ended up…if I would have waited a year and done that mammogram... Cause
there was nothing pressing to have me do it. I didn’t have any indications. It was the
mammogram that discovered the lump, not me. I didn’t even know it was there.
But type of cancers that tend to grow on my body are very aggressive cancers, because
prior to leaving central Michigan, it was March, I had to get my last mammogram and
sure enough by September I have cancer again. So a year’s time in development for the
cancer to be doing what it wants to do inside me.
We were very proactive in watching it and I think that’s of course knowing that I
am a cancer patient but I don’t know what my story would have been had I waited till
I was 40. I am pretty sure it would have been a longer treatment and the toll of chemo obviously
on the body, it has a toll. So to me, I try to really tell people, go get checked up.
Be diligent in your check ups. I have always said that denial in cancer doesn’t
help you – period, in every shape or form. Just be proactive in your health and if you
are not feeling well, check on that, you are going to have blood tests and if you know
you are not feeling well, keep telling your doctor that you are not feeling well.
Lisa Schneider-Cipriano: Paqui, what kind of cancer did you have?
Paqui Kelly: My first one was not hormone sensitive, my second one was. So kind of my
life, I take everything pretty light-heartedly anyway but I remember them saying, “The
bad news is you have cancer again; the good news is different type of cancer.” They
were both in my *** but they were actually two different types of cancer, so it was considered
a re-occurrence, which was a good thing in terms of statistics.
I could continually monitor my health on a day-to-day basis, but the types of…both
the types that I had were very aggressive, very fast growing.