In 2011, two weeks after her 40th birthday, Jody Mazer went for a routine mammogram – only 11 months after her previous mammogram. She could immediately see in the technician’s eyes that there was a problem. The radiologist came into the room and told Ms. Mazer that they didn’t think she had a problem – 98% chance she didn’t have a problem – but because they had the benefit of her previous mammogram, they could see there was a change and felt she should follow up on it. In that moment, she knew she had cancer.

For the next 48 hours, she went through decisions of biopsies and follow-up appointments with everybody saying – “Oh, I’ve had that before and they found a cyst,” or, “I’ve had things biopsied and had to go back for additional films.” Twenty-four hours later, she had a confirmed diagnosis of stage 1 her2 breast cancer. “Having to call your mom and say, Mommy I have cancer, is about the worst thing that there is; except, even worse is calling your husband and saying that I don’t know if we’re going to grow old together,” said Jody. Thinking of her children and all the good possibilities in her life and then realizing that at 40 years old, there may not be a future, Jody immediately made the decision that she didn’t care what any other tests or scans showed, she was having a double mastectomy as quickly as possible.

Jody met with Dr. Gladys Giron-Newman at Baptist Health Breast Center, who sat with Jody for more than two hours and explained every detail about her situation – what they knew, what they did not know and what they would be doing. By the end of the appointment, Jody told her family that the search was over and that she knew that this would be her doctor and the person who was going to save her life. She and her husband, Jason, were always very honest with their children and, even though they were very young, they sat them down and told them the truth. Their children gave them the extra bit of support that you need to get through an experience like that, every minute of every day. “Every day is a gift, which is something that we’ve always preached in our family, that every day is a gift and you have to be grateful, and we do the things that are important to live well and be happy.”

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