Armed with thorough research, and a strong support system, this cancer survivor found the courage to undergo a bilateral mastectomy.
“My journey started when I received a phone call from the diagnostic clinic on my daughter’s fourth birthday — December 4, 2012 — telling me they saw something in my annual mammogram,” says Stacy Neuburger, an accounting and human resources specialist. “I was scared to death.”
After multiple tests, including mammograms, ultrasounds and two biopsies, Neuburger learned she was in the early stages of lobular breast cancer. “When I left that office that day, I went into fight mode,” she says. “I was going to do whatever I had to do to make this as painless as I could for my daughter.”
Neuburger researched her cancer extensively, and decided to undergo a bilateral mastectomy, followed by reconstructive surgery — a choice her oncologist supported, due to her mammogram density. “Today, I know it was the best decision,” she says. “I have seven incisions. I call them my ‘tattoos with better stories.’” She found support in her family, friends and faith — and in her daughter’s understanding of what was happening to Mom. “She listened to every word I said, and loved me so sweetly through every moment,” Neuburger says.
These days, Neuburger sees life differently. “My priority in life now is to live for today, smile today and make people around me smile,” she says. “I live by the famous quote: ‘Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take your breath away.’” She also dedicates time to educate and support other women with breast cancer. “They are scared and don’t know what to expect, and it is comforting to have someone to walk with you through it,” she says.