A Virginia grade school teacher is on the down side of a major fight with breast cancer and is needing community support to help offset costs for her continued treatment and supporting her young family. Rachel Flynn, a second grade teacher at Virginia Elementary School, said she found a lump on her breast after a self-exam on April 29th this year and has had a long road back to recovery. “I found the spot on April 29th, my grandmother’s birthday. I found it myself. I put my kids to bed. I was feeling fine. I had no symptoms, no side effects, no redness. Right away, I called my mom and sister. Unfortunately, my father passed away five years ago from esophageal cancer. They said maybe it was a cyst or non-cancerous and told me not to get too worked up about it. I tried not to, but of course that night, I didn’t sleep well. Then, I reached out and contacted my principal and said that I would be at school the following day but I may need to leave. I told her that I had found something that I need to take care of. She was very supportive. I got in the next day immediately with my OB-GYN.”
Flynn said that she was immediately sent to have a mammogram, which was her first. Flynn said that due to being 35 years old that her doctors wanted to push things up quickly. She said that she had just had her check-up with her doctors in October and had been clear. Flynn talked about her diagnosis after that initial meeting with doctors: “From October 26th to April 29th, this mass on my right breast was 4 centimeters in size. It was a decent size mass and very aggressive. They right away got me in for all of my scans. I’m very thankful for that. Come to find out, they were pushing things through. The very next day I had to go in for a biopsy. The doctor that did a biopsy was a radiologist who specializes in breast imaging. I had told him that I had been through [cancer diagnosis] unfortunately with my father. I told him not to beat around the bush on the diagnosis and tell me what he could see. He brought in a few nurses and basically said that because of the characteristics of [the mass] and because of how fast and aggressive it had grown, he was sure it was cancerous. He said that if the results came back negative that they would be doing the biopsy again.”
Flynn said that the lump had metastasized into two lymph nodes, causing it to be a Stage 3 invasive ductile carcinoma. Doctors said with the aggression and Flynn’s age that the form of cancer was very rare. Flynn has said that she has completed all of her chemotherapy as of October 2nd and is currently finishing up final rounds of medication. Flynn will be having a double mastectomy in the near future with eventual breast reconstruction surgery. Due to her compromised immune system, Flynn has had to take a leave of absence from teaching at Virginia Elementary school which has placed her family under financial strain.
Friends have organized a benefit in her honor. A trivia night is going to be held on October 19th at the KC Hall in Jacksonville. Currently the event is looking for trivia teams and silent auction donations. Hefty Lefty BBQ and Allison Fairfield have donated food for the event. Dave Comstock has volunteered as MC for the evening. Cost is $100 per team. For more information about the event email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Rally For Rach Facebook page.