Bio: I turned 40 and made my appointment for my first mammogram. I have no family history and was just doing what I was supposed to do! I am an entrepreneur and own 2 businesses. I started and own Flippitydooda, a mobile flipbook studio, and I also run my own Independent Insurance Agency in Atlanta called Brightway Insurance. I have two amazing kids. My son, Eli, is 13 and my daughter, Meryll, is 12. I have been married for 16 years to a wonderful man, Lee. My mammogram was negative. Two months later I felt a lump on my right breast. It was hard like a marble. Even though my mammogram was negative, I still went to see the breast specialist. I was biopsied, and on September 26, 2012 my life changed forever.
My reaction when I was first diagnosed: I was shocked, in disbelief and numb.
How I’m feeling now: Lucky! The love I received because of this experience completely outweighed any pain. I reconnected with some old friends because of my diagnosis and made several new ones. We are all on borrowed time.
My inspirations: I get my inspiration from the women that have been through this before me. Also, when I look into my children’s eyes, I know I want to be around for their weddings and to see their children some day!
My support system: My husband is my hero. He took care of me, our children, the dog and our house without skipping a beat. Our marriage was great before my diagnosis, but our relationship has reached a new level post-diagnosis. I was also lucky enough to have my sisters and friends come in town to take care of me after my surgery. I was so fortunate to have family and friends in my life to cook for me, bathe me, blow dry my hair and drain my drains!
I’m proud of: My decision making process. I weighed out all the options, made several phone calls and read several books. I made the best choice for my family and me and remained positive throughout my journey. My motto is “move forward”!
I’m afraid of: Getting cancer again. I think time will take care of this. It has only been one year, and I know by talking to other survivors that with time I will lose this fear. I know I cannot live in fear, so I face each day with a smile and a positive attitude.
I’ve learned: To trust your gut! My mammogram was negative, but I felt a lump two months later and went straight to a breast surgeon and had a biopsy. If I had not been proactive, who knows what would have happened?!
My advice to new patients: Talk to people, hear their stories and share your story, but realize that we all have our own journey and that each of our stories are different. Give up control. Listen to your doctors and nurses and let them take care of you. Let your friends and family cook for you! Let people help. This will bring love into your home that you never expected. I am a better person because of cancer and have a deeper love for my friends and family because of it!