Vanessa’s Story: Fighting breast cancer at age 25

When Vanessa Isroskul was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25, she decided to take it on with a positive attitude. With the assistance of some “awesome” caregivers, Isroskul has moved comfortably through her treatment from the biopsy, medications, a double mastectomy, implants, and more medications. This will be followed yet this year by radiation treatments.

The mother of two young boys, Isroskul was working at Meijer Distribution Center in June 2021 when she received the diagnosis.

“Everything just happened so fast. It was scary, but my mom was with me the whole time,” she said. “I went to all my doctors’ appointments, got my genetic testing. I didn’t carry any of the genes for it. It seemed like a fluke that it happened. Plus, I was 25 and it is not something you ever think will happen,” Isroskul said.

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She was no stranger to breast medical issues. At age 14, she had a benign lump removed from her left breast. Afterward, she underwent testing regularly. The results were benign. In 2021, though, Isroskul said something wasn’t right. “One day, I literally had this feeling. I thought ‘I am going to get this checked.’ Once I did, we found out it was cancer. It was caught early on,” she said.

A care team addressed the situation head on. “It was a constant race to get it done,” she said. Her treatment for triple positive breast cancer has included six rounds of chemotherapy along with a Zoladex shot each month. This was followed by a bilateral mastectomy, 14 rounds of chemotherapy, anti-estrogen pills daily, and breast expansion. Once complete, the next step will be radiation.

The treatments have been given at Miami Valley Hospital North in Englewood. “I am very comfortable there. I hang out and catch up on what everyone has been doing,” Isroskul said. “I go with the flow. I believe very strongly God has a plan; everything happens for a reason.”

Her oncologist is Roger Wood, MD; breast surgeon, Thomas Heck, MD; plastic surgeon, Todd Hicks, MD; and radiation oncologist Ryan Steinmetz, MD. Also instrumental in the care has been Emily Townsend, MSN, RN, OCN, Isroskul said. “Everyone on my care team is really awesome and I would recommend them to anyone.”

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Isroskul’s parents and brother have been extremely supportive along with sons Braxton and Brayden, who are five and three. “I try to make every situation is positive. I tell the boys I am going to the doctor. They are OK with it,” she said. “I have tried to make the situation fun for them. When I started losing my hair, I let them help me shave all my hair off. They thought that was fun.”

Her advice to other women includes paying attention to their bodies. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, or really how young you are. Check, always check. Your body is your body,” she said. “If you have that gut feeling that something is not right, always follow it. Make sure you are always doing self-checks because anything is possible.”

Special coverage

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we will celebrate the stories of breast cancer survivors throughout October.

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