My name is Karen; at 41, I had it all! An incredible husband and 2 wonderful children: my son, 10, and daughter, 8.

On July 19, 2007, while cooking dinner, I received the call. “You have cancer,” the doctor said. I replied, “Ok, let’s schedule the mastectomy, quickly.” I then called my husband, sister in-law and mother-in-law (my mom passed away when I was 8). I can’t remember what I was cooking, but I do remember saying quietly to myself, “I have cancer, I really have cancer.” I know I didn’t cry, why should I? I knew I would get rid of the cancer and life would go on. My husband and I were very positive about the situation when we told our children about the cancer. We basically said, “If you are going to get cancer, this is the one to get. Mommy will have surgery to remove it and some chemotherapy to keep it away. Mommy may need some extra help around the house, but we will be fine.” Then we discussed dinner for the evening and whose turn it was to feed the dogs…typical.

I never in a million years thought I would get breast cancer; there is NO sign of it in my family. My slogan became “I’m one in a million,” always saying that with a smile. I didn’t ask WHY, I asked, “What can I do now and who can I help?” I wanted to help others through the same situation, and let them know they can beat this. I remember getting fitted for the wig I THOUGHT I wouldn’t need. The consultant said to me “You are a survivor now”….that’s when it hit me…she was right! Watch out world. I am here to stay.

I survived a bilateral mastectomy with TRAM flaps, 6 intense chemo treatments, and a full hysterectomy, all in less than a year. I managed to continue working, squeeze in a couple of field trips, co-chair a PTA committee, attend PTA meetings, and even take a family trip to the Tennessee Aquarium. Life doesn’t have to stop when you get cancer, mine certainly did not. There was work, breakfast, school lunches, dinner, carpool, karate, laundry…do I need to continue? I stayed strong and positive for my children and to prove to myself that I can beat this.

Today, I am still winning and what an incredible feeling that is! I still have it all and more, and so can you. We women are so strong, let this be your chance to prove to the world and yourself just how strong we are.

God bless you.