You might just call Jamie Juliano a tough chick, the kind you would find on the back of a Harley. But that free and invincible spirt of her backroads motorcycle rides was promptly halted by a scary diagnosis.
“I was in the shower and I found a lump…and I did nothing about it. I realized, it started growing bigger and i decided to go to the doctor, ” she recalls. To this day, she wonders if things would’ve been different had she not waited six months to see a doctor.
That day is still clear in her mind, “I was able to see the screen and i’m watching it and it was plain as day. It was right there… and so i just blurted it out, ‘Do I have cancer?’ She stood up, put out her hands, and gave me a hug and she said good luck.”
A biopsy confirmed Jamie’s fears. It was breast cancer.
Dr. Barbara Krueger says, “Breast cancer is probably the most emotionally difficult cancer to develop. It not only means that she has cancer, but it means that she may have to undergo significant changes in her appearance and in a part of the body that really defines her as a woman.”
Jamie opted to undergo the double mastectomy surgery, removing both her breasts. She also had 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation.
Jamie’s positive spirit touched her surgeon, Dr. Krueger, and the two have become close friends. ‘She was always optimistic. I maybe saw her cry once and it passed immediately and she just forged ahead. She has this will to live and a joy for life and that’s why she has done so well for so long and she will do well,” Krueger says.
Jamie is now cancer-free, but continues to think about how her difficult journey may have just been lessened by earlier action on her part. Dr. Krueger also encourages other women to learn about early detection from stories like Jamie’s , “We still recommend that women practice a breast self-exam. They will often identify abnormalities before their doctor could even feel them. If they can feel a lump in their breast, they should go see somebody to have it checked out.”