EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSMom Makes Bold Decision After Cancer Diagnosis
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Aug. 6, 2013 1:54 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 6, 2013 9:21 PM EDT
Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia
Sarah White began self-checking her breasts at age 16, ever since being diagnosed with benign cysts.
"Every month, every other month," the Huntington woman said.
It became a habit she has stuck with for years, just in case.
"I'm 33. and you don't hear a lot of 20 and 30 year olds having breast cancer, but it does happen," White said.
A few months ago, she found a lump she knew didn't belong.
"I had a gut feeling, but you're always hoping for a better outcome," she said.
Nothing showed up in a mammogram, but an ultrasound, on the other hand, showed a tumor that showed very suspicious signs of malignancy. A lumpectomy confirmed it was triple-negative breast cancer, a very aggressive form of cancer that is not genetic or hormonal.
The diagnosis raised question after question for White.
"Is it going to come back? Is it going to come back in the other one? Am I going to have to do this again?"
White said she didn't think twice about how to answer those questions. In June, she had a double mastectomy with reconstructive surgery.
"I don't want to have to go through this again," she said. "I have two children."
That decision may have saved her life.
"When we did the mastectomy, we got the pathology report there was a tumor that was hidden in the breast tissue that was three times the size of the first tumor," she said.
White starts chemotherapy this week. This fall she will participate in Dancing with the Tri-State stars, a fundraiser for Ebenezer Medical Outreach.
"If I have a good day, we'll practice until I have no more energy," she said.
It is not only an outlet to keep her spirits up but also a chance to reach out to more women about the importance of self-checking.
"If I hadn't self-checked, and I went on, I could have months to live," White said. "Hopefully, I'll be around for my babies.
White's family and friends have formed "Team Sarah" as a support system as she goes through chemotherapy and radiation over the next several months. She also will have to take time off from her job as a special needs teacher at Highlawn Elementary in Huntington.
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