MEMPHIS, Tenn. — September is healthy aging month, and to wrap it all up, we spoke with a breast cancer survivor who shared her story and what she does to age healthy.
Sometimes when life hits, it can catch people by surprise, especially if they feel like they are doing what is best for their health.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, on average, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. every two minutes.
Unfortunately, stage 3 breast cancer survivor Kym Douglas was one of those women when she found out the news in 2018.
“I had been doing my green juices, I walk all the time, I’ve been happily married for 37 years, I worked out…I just marked all the boxes,” Kym said.
Life for her was everything she wanted it to be before she discovered she had stage 3 breast cancer, three years after missing her routine mammogram tests.
“So I went in for my tests after a little bit of prompting. Sure enough, after a couple of days later, I get the call that every woman fears. And she said, ‘You know I saw something. You’re still very healthy, I’m sure it’s nothing. Let’s just come in for another one,’” Kym explained.
That is when she found out that she tested positive for stage 0, and because it had spread throughout her breast, she made the tough decision to remove both of her breasts.
“When the surgery was almost done, we were at the last layer of taking off the breast tissue. They found against my chest wall next to my heart three 1.5-centimeter tumors that nothing detected,” Kym said. “No MRI, no mammogram.”
The cancer progressed to stage 3, so she got chemotherapy treatments and radiation. Kym encourages people to get their annual check-ups, to catch any early signs, and to make sure people are up to date on their prescriptions.
“It was quite a long, and difficult time, but through those kind of traumas and struggles in your life, the test turns into testimony and your mess turns into a message to encourage men and women to really take care of themselves,” Kym said.
She added that she values her health more than ever and is sure to do what is needed to keep herself aging as healthy as possible, including anything that involves self-care.
“Make sure you get your eyes checked. These go so good with your outfit…I feel like I look through life with rose-colored glasses…you just want to make sure that you’re seeing life clearly and that you can move forward,” Kym said.
She went through her chemo treatments for almost a full year.
Kym also said people should book that trip, whether it be a staycation or a vacation, sometimes a change of scenery will give a fresh perspective.