By Jeannie Blaylock
First Coast News
CLAY COUNTY, FL -- Just ask her students. They'll tell you. Mrs. Horne is even better than Superman.
Now that's a compliment.
Brenda Horne can't stop a speeding locomotive with her bare hands. But you could put her in the Superwoman ranks.
She teaches at Lake Asbury Elementary in Clay County. Life was good until her husband got cancer. He didn't win his fight and passed away.
Then in the midst of grieving--just six months after his death-Brenda found out she had breast cancer herself.
But this is where Brenda discovers her own superpowers. First of all, Brenda was a faithful Buddy Check 12 woman. She did self exams and became familiar with all the lumps and bumps of her breast. So she knew when her fingers felt something different.
"Well, I was doing self exams," she explains. "And I felt something hard and oval." She says it felt like a peanut M&M.
Brenda is not the first woman who's told me that. Breast cancer typically does feel like a hard knot, anything from an uncooked pea to a peppermint candy to a walnut.
So, even though she was still dealing with her husband's death, Brenda didn't cave in and called the doctor.
"My mother died with breast cancer and my older sister was diagnosed with breast cancer," she says. Brenda knew you don't mess with fire.
Again, she mustered up her superpowers and made a tough decision. With her family history in mind, Brenda sought genetic testing. The test results convinced her to ask for a double mastectomy.
"Are you happy about that?" I asked her. "Yes, very happy," was her reply. (And it came without a pause.) To Brenda, the future is much more comfortable now - even without her breasts.
The key point to Brenda's story is catching her cancer early in the first place.
"I'm here today. If I had not found it when I did I would not be so fortunate." She encourages everyone now to do Buddy Check 12.
How many medical tests have you ever had which are so easy? I bet none. You don't even have to call a doctor's office for an appointment. You don't have to drive half a block down the road. And it doesn't cost you a penny.
And you can do the test in your robe. Or check in the shower when you're undressed anyway. I tell you this is easy.
Just order a Buddy Check 12 kit and we'll mail it to you for free. Get a buddy and remind each other every 12th to do a self exam. The kit helps you remember your mammograms, as well.
My buddy is my mom in Missouri. (She is the best grandma in the universe, too, according to my kids.) For 13 years now we've called each other every 12th. We've both had biopsies; nothing malignant turned up, thankfully. But if we ever get breast cancer, we are on top of it.
Call Baptist Health at 202-CARE for your free Buddy Check 12 kit. You'll see my Buddy Check success stories every month on First Coast News, NBC-12 and ABC-25.
First Coast News