Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

13 Years Later 'I ... Am Now Doing Fine'; Tammy Steinmetz Breast Cancer Survivor, Jacksonville

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

13 Years Later 'I ... Am Now Doing Fine'; Tammy Steinmetz Breast Cancer Survivor, Jacksonville

Article excerpt

My success story begins about 13 years ago when I was facing breast cancer for the first time. I had a massive tumor on my right breast and the doctors told me it was cancer. I was very scared and was not totally prepared to hear that. I was only 36 with 2 young children and a husband at that time.

I chose to have the mastectomy and later found out that it traveled to my lymph nodes. Out of the 24 auxiliary lymph nodes, 12 were infected with cancer. They removed all of them and I had to go for chemo and radiation.

After that I was doing good until the seventh year I started to have problems with my left breast. I kept getting micro-calcifications there, three times. The fourth time I talked to my surgeon and he said this could continue since I am at risk for developing cancer again.

There were three areas of concern and I optioned to get a mastectomy again. After the surgery, the lab told me it was in its early stages of cancer. My oncologist recommended the genetic testing since my dad's sisters had breast cancer and also my younger sister did, too. Turned out that I did test positive for the BRAC1 gene.

I recently had undergone reconstructive surgery and am now doing fine. My children are grown now and married and are blessing me with some beautiful grandchildren.

Jeannie Blaylock, Buddy Check 12 and Donna Deegan have been an inspiration to me, and so many others.

I also want to thank the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society for their commitment and dedication to all the survivors and for those we have lost.

Thank you for taking the time to hear this story. I am currently working on a book about my testimony and battle with cancer. I am proud to say that I am a survivor.

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