It was about 10 years ago, when I was 40, that I received my first diagnosis of breast cancer. After having my first mammogram at 40, I received notice of an abnormal result. Radiation, lumpectomy…no chemo (thank goodness). I moved on. Two years later, another abnormal scan…the cancer had returned. Thinking it was the same, but unable to have another lumpectomy, I opted for tram flap and double mastectomy. I was not going to have this run my life! I had to take time from my students (6th grade teacher) but was blessed with an intern who jumped right in for me as I was in recovery! Pathology returned stage 1 HER2 positive, which meant another route for me…Herceptin for a year (after treatment for a staph infection that nearly took my life). I was able to evade chemo once again! Teaching and receiving treatments was difficult, but it’s what got me through the year! I thank GOD every day that I am alive and strong, and still here to see my now 13 yr old and 11 year old children grown into young adults! I find myself wondering and feeling a little guilty….how was I so lucky? There are so many people who do not get this chance…who are dealt a different hand. I hope to inspire those around me to live each day to the fullest. Keep your mind and body strong! Get regular mammograms! You may not find a lump….I didn’t! Getting that first mammogram at 40 saved my life…and saved my life again two years later!