“I woke up out of surgery and looked up and saw them all with their tattoos.”
Kelly Gatto will never forget that vivid moment, surrounded by friends after mastectomy surgery in March 2012.
Barbara Thompson was 37 years old when she received a devastating diagnosis of Stage 2b invasive carcinoma in multiple tumors.
“That was pretty tough. The prognosis was not very good, but I was determined. There was no way I was going to lay on the couch and die,” Thompson, now 54, recalled.
Single mom Vickie Viator is a self-proclaimed “transplanted Floridian” who lives in Navarre with her son Zachary. When Viator found a lump during a self-exam she and her son moved temporarily back to Georgia near family so she could undergo chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.
She and Zachary just returned in June.
“This is home. I’ve never been so happy to come back home,” Viator said.
In January 2013, Petra Fransis was diagnosed with a small, noninvasive, pin-sized amount of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
That pin-sized cancer led to a double mastectomy as well as cancer in the spine and hip within a year.
“The first time I was diagnosed was Sept. 11, 2012,” 32-year-old Shawna Bunch recalled. “I knew before they told me.”
Bunch had a tumor less than 5 millimeters that caused some debate over treatment due to its small nature.
Read the stories of five incredible women and their fight against breast cancer in the Oct. 16 issue of the Navarre Press or subscribe online here.