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I am a breast cancer survivor, but I prefer to be called a crusader.
On June 6, 2013, I just got finished with an employee orientation at Meadville Wesbury Nursing Home. I told my employers I might have breast cancer but probably not. So it was a huge shock when the doctor later said my biopsy showed not only one but two cancerous lumps. The doctor suggested a total left breast mastectomy.
I cried with my mom. I was also going through much mental anguish due to an unwanted divorce, empty nest syndrome, and my sick grandmother, who I was caring for. I was inundated with life-changing stressors, and I was so exhausted already from all the changes in my life. My breast cancer roller coaster ride was just beginning.
One of my mom's friends was my mentor, answering all of my questions. The first thing she told me to remember was that breast cancer is not a death sentence. This is especially true when it's in its early stages, and mine was, thank God. I can't stress enough how so very important it is to get those annual mammograms. That was my affirmation, along with the T-shirt my daughter Rachel designed: Keep Calm and Fight On. I decided as I was going through this journey to write a memoir, RIZN from the ASHES.
Breast cancer actually saved my life. I am now newly married, and I am crusader for early breast cancer detection and mental health recovery.
Thanks for letting me share my story,
Mrs. Michelle Irene Neff resides in Meadville, Pennsylvania, with her wonderful husband Brian and six-toed calico cat, Jubilee. Michelle is a cancer crusader and educates people she comes in contact with about mental illness. In her future she hopes to be an advocate for women's causes. She enjoys singing, acting, and writing. She loves the autumn season: baking, creating different soups, fall festivals, and especially Thanksgiving. She is a proud mother of two children. Her son, Caleb, former Marine son and fiancee Alexis reside in California. He works for a Hvac company and she is a cosmetologist. Her daughter, Rachel, who lives in South Carolina and is an assistant trainer for Panera Bread restaurant and taking classes for social psychology. Michelle is anxiously waiting to become a grandmother for the first time.