JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Michele Reum and her daughter, Brittni, are driving down the road and Brittni says, "Hey, Mom, why are you rubbing your boob?"
Michele responds that she thinks she has a bug bite and it's bothering her.
Brittni, who could feel the red flags popping up inside her, says, "Mom, if you don't call a doctor, I will."
Michele says that supposed bug bite, when she first felt it, was tiny, like the very tip of a pen.
The good news is that Michele and her daughter have been doing Buddy Check for about five years now, and they both know the importance of self exams.
That little "bug bite" was hard. That's a classic sign of breast cancer.
Michele took her daughter's advice, called the doctor, and found out she had breast cancer. Turns out, she had two separate breast lumps, both cancer.
So her doctor at Baptist/MD Anderson is treating her for HER2+ breast cancer. Michele chose a double mastectomy, and she will then have chemo and possibly radiation.
Dr. Beth-Ann Lesnikoski, Michele's Breast Surgical Oncologist, says 20 years ago the prognosis would have been "poor" for Michele. But now her odds of beating this aggressive breast cancer are, the doctor says, "phenomenal."
Lesnikoski says with Herceptin and other advancements, "The prognosis for her survival is better than 90-95%."
And here's the cool part of this story. Brittini is expecting a baby. That means Michele, in her words, has "something to fight for" going through chemotherapy.
The doctor says Michele is in such a good situation that she can count on seeing -- not just her new grandchild -- but that child's children.
Do you have a Buddy Check kit to help you catch breast cancer early?
Just call Baptist at 904-202-CARE. Baptist and First Coast News are partners for Buddy Check. We will mail you a kit for free.
Meanwhile, check for any hard lump or any change in your breast or your nipple. Don't ignore it. Catch it early. Buddy Check has saved thousands of lives on our First Coast and around the world.
If Buddy Check has helped you, please email Jeannie Blaylock at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story.
Meanwhile, congratulations to the Mom-Daughter Buddy Check Duo, Michele and Brittni!