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Reader story: Christina Stransky

I was just 39 years old with no known history of breast cancer in the family. I found a lump on my breast, but it did not cross my mind it could be cancer. It was following a skiing trip and I thought I did it during one of my falls. It was close to the surface and felt more like an injury bump than anything. I went to the doctor for a checkup and asked them to check it out while I was there. My doctor also thought it was nothing, but for precaution went to get a sonogram and mammogram even though I just had one 3 months prior for my annual. I was shocked when the results came back that it was cancer.

I was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. Although I thought "why me" and "how could this be, I am only 39”, I quickly went into a fighting mode. I never imagined I could have such strength inside me. All I thought about was my family and my two children and how I wanted to be around for them to see them grow up.

The American Cancer Society helped a great deal with understanding my cancer and all the options I had. Being ready with as much information as possible helped me through it and provided me with the ability to ask my doctors questions. I began my treatment plan immediately and although it was tough, having someone to talk to that has gone or is going through the same thing gives you hope. The strength, hope, and faith I found through my family, friends and support groups was a significant element in my treatment.

I am a five-year survivor and feel great. I learned to never take life for granted and do not dwell on the small things in life. Enjoy every moment; history or not, it can happen to any of us and not just after 50.

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