Julie Padgett, a 50-year-old mother of three, had no history of breast cancer in her family. She knew, however, that she had dense breast tissue that would make it difficult to detect abnormal lumps during self-exams, so she always had her yearly mammograms.
This year's annual appointment was different. The mammogram detected a calcification.
Padgett's life became a whirlwind. She underwent a sonogram and a biopsy, and was diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer.
"I was completely blindsided," said Padgett, of Lauderdale Lakes. "At first I was emotional, crying, but I held on to my faith, my family and my friends to get me through."
Padgett chose to undergo a bi-lateral mastectomy at Broward Health Imperial Point (BHIP) to ensure her future health.
"I didn't want to go through this, or have my family go through this again," Padgett said. "The care I received at Broward Health Imperial Point was fantastic, and I was so grateful for the private rooms that allowed my husband to stay with me. I could not have asked for better care."
Two weeks after her surgery, Padgett was back in her classroom, determined to get her life back to normal. She is now focused on being a little better every day, to value the importance of self-care, staying away from carcinogenic products and working out. She also is relishing the little things that she used to take for granted, such as laying on your side, cleaning the house or going to the beach.
"This is not a death sentence," she said. "You will survive. Live each day grateful to be here."