In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of our very own BrightStar family members, Jennifer Kotlarz, shares her warrior story, and the importance of yearly exams.
This is My story…
One year ago, this month I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had my annual mammogram and they found something. I went in for a biopsy and had to wait. It was a surreal time for me and my family. When I got the news of course my mind went to the absolute worst-case scenario. I had an aggressive type of cancer that could only be treated with chemotherapy and surgery. If it wasn’t for my annual mammogram detecting the cancer early, I believe my worst-case scenario would have been my story and I’m so happy to tell you that it is not!
I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your annual mammogram, it saved my life. My diagnosis, treatment, and recovery has been a rough journey, but it would have been even harder if I had put off getting my annual mammogram. I was at Stage 1, which means the cancer had not spread and I had a better chance of beating it. What if I had waited and not gotten my annual mammogram? I didn’t feel the lump, I had no symptoms, it was the mammogram that found the cancer.
You owe it to yourself and your love ones to always get your annual mammogram. I know it is an uncomfortable procedure and we think about putting it off or going next month, then the next month. Review your family history with your doctor and decide when you should start getting mammograms if you have not had one yet. Also, pick a day and do a self-exam monthly, I use the 19th which is my birthday, so I remember easier.
I know life can get busy and you may put off taking care of you, please don’t, put yourself first and make that appointment today!
Jennifer is wonderful woman, wife, mother of two girls, and a huge asset to our BrightStar family. Without this test she might not be with us today, we are so grateful for Jen's strength, and so happy we get to see her smiling face week after week. We hope that Jen's story helps share the importance of routine doctor visits and self checks. Read more about how to self check and other ways to protect yourself, and loved ones here.