At only age 30, Krysta Rodriguez faced a fight for her life. The actress, known for her roles on "Trial & Error" and "Quantico," joins The Doctors to discuss the difficult decisions she faced.
Krysta grew up wanting to be a successful actress, and her career on stage, film, and TV was flourishing by the time she reached her 30th birthday. But her life changed dramatically when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I had always had fibrocystic breasts and doctors were never concerned about that,” she explains, “so I never really thought about it.” But when she found a drop of blood coming from her nipple, she knew something was wrong.
When the results of her biopsy and mammogram came back, Krysta says, “My mind just sort of went blank! How? How did this happen? I don’t have a family history, I’m 30 years old.” She was treated with radiation and six rounds of chemo, and she chose to have hormone treatments that put her in menopause.
Krysta knew that she couldn’t hide what she was going through, so she started a blog to share her journey. “I thought if I could take something that feels ugly and flip it on its head and make it feel beautiful, maybe I’ll feel better – and maybe someone else will feel better.”
Krysta weighed her options and decided on a double mastectomy. Breast Surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk performed her surgery, and the two have become friends.
“The hardest part of all of it is losing your femininity,” Krysta tells The Doctors. But she has grown through the experience. “What I’m learning is, you don’t have control over your life. When you allow life to happen and roll with those changes, it’s definitely freeing.”
Now Krysta is cancer-free and feeling great, although becoming menopausal has been challenging. “When a woman goes through menopause she does it slowly, over a period of time,” she points out. “I received an injection and went in by that evening.” She feels that menopause isn’t discussed enough, and she was blindsided by symptoms like weight gain, loss of bone density, disturbed sleep, and lower libido.
“I love the relationship that you two built,” ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork tells Krysta and Dr. Funk. “Everyone wants to go to Dr. Funk!” Krysta laughs. She researched surgeons for nine months and says that Dr. Funk was so supportive and reassuring that she left her office thinking, “I can’t believe I’m excited to have this surgery!” Dr. Funk says, “It’s one of those moments when you take those lemons and made some lemonade.”
Dr. Funk says that she was able to preserve Krysta’s breast skin and nipples and place implants that restored her original appearance. “Someone said to me that you have to find a doctor that sees you well – that doesn’t see you sick,” says Krysta. Now she’s able to see this experience as a blip in her life.