Four Reasons I Fought Like A Girl

My mom died of breast cancer in 2002 after having been diagnosed in 1996 at the age of 43. Our family became big supporters of awareness and raised money for ACS breast cancer walks for years. I went to my gynecologist annually and did self-exams. I remember asking when I should start having mammograms, and she said at age 35.

In November of 2010 I went in for my yearly exam and saw a video about BRAC testing. I asked my doctor about it, and we did the test and I had my first mammogram. The results of the mammogram were good, but not the results for the BRAC test. Still, I was relieved until March of 2011, when I felt a large egg-shaped lump while in the shower. I honestly thought it was nothing, since I had just had an exam, mammogram, and BRAC test four months earlier. On April 15th I went to see my gynecologist, and even though she thought it was nothing, she didn’t want to take any chances due to my history. She ordered a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound, and core biopsy.

I received the bad news on May 2nd at the age of 37. I had IDC Grade 3 Stage 3 breast cancer. The wind was completely knocked out of me. I was told that it had been there 5-7 years. This couldn’t be happening. I had done everything that I was suppose to do, and I had three little girls to take care of. It took the radiologist congratulating me for finding it for it to sink in that I had done everything right. I underwent chemo, then a bilateral mastectomy in November 2011 and reconstructive surgery in February 2012. I had the support of my loving husband and wonderful children, and was able to keep working throughout chemo thanks to my office family. We’ll be celebrating our WIN with a trip to DisneyWorld this summer!

Rhonda Ronnow
Springfield, TN

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