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Over the weekend my friend Tracia, who is in her mid 40’s, came out of the closet about her breast cancer diagnosis on facebook. Here is her story from her facebook post:

I wanted to share my story after all of the yucky, scary stuff and it was, is, yucky and scary. On June 30, 2012 I found a small lump in my right breast (with the help of my dog LULU), On July 5th I was diagnosed with breast cancer, on July 21st I underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy with reconstruction, my cancer was stage 2, triple positive, with pagets disease-but my margins and lymph nodes were clear! August 21st my wonderful husband sent me to Sedona to find some peace, spent time with a Shaman and got ready for the fight of my life.

On August 31st I started 4 months of chemotherapy. It sucked! All of my doctors told me it would suck and it did! I was sick, weak, lost my hair, eye lashes, eye brows, I was a cancer patient. I was fighting this cancer with every ounce of my being and it was the hardest thing I have ever been through, but I did it! After chemo was finished it was about 6 weeks and I had a 5o’clock shadow on my head! YEAH, hair! My wonderful husband threw a 5 o’clock shadow happy hour 🙂 I underwent a revision on my reconstruction 6 weeks ago to put the girls back in place. They shifted a little. Due to the nature of my cancer (HER2 +) I still have a Port and go for an infusion of medicine every 3 weeks to fight my cancer from coming back (I’m here right now, I love my oncology team!), I also take a pill (tamoxifen) everyday for 5 years. I am starting to look like my old self and feel like my old self, I’m starting to recognize the girl in the mirror again.

I decided to “come out of my Cancer closet” on facebook because I found my tumor on my own. I had a clear mammogram 9 months before my diagnosis. The day I found my tumor my dog kept bumping my boob and it lead me to find the lump. PLEASE if you are reading my story PLEASE self check & get your mammograms!

My brave and wonderful friend is doing well. By coming out of the cancer closet, she has put a face on a very real and scary possibility for many of her friends, particularly the ones in their 40’s, that this could be us someday. Now more than ever, we have to be vigilant about our health. Don’t wait until something feels wrong or there is persistent pain, go to the doctor regularly for checkups and wellness visits. Learn about breast cancer and other prevalent illnesses for women in their 40’s so you are educated in knowing the early signs of illness. With an early diagnosis, many of these illnesses are treatable.

Here are just a few websites that offer a wealth of health information in areas that concern most women 40 and older:

Breast Cancer

Heart Disease

Ovarian Cancer

Colon Cancer