By: Susanna Black
CONCORD, NC (WBTV) Heather Edmisten started giving herself monthly breast exams in college. One every month for about 15 years. She says she did it because she knew she was supposed to. This Concord High School teacher said she never actually expected to find anything unusual.
But last August, Heather discovered a lump. A month later, the 36-year-old was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer.
Heather endured 18 rounds of chemo…then a double mastectomy… then radiation. It was tough.
Today, Heather says she's beyond thankful to say that doctors report no more signs of cancer.
Heather says her battle is over – she won! – but she didn't do it alone. She had the help of "Heather's Warriors," friends and family she claims pushed her every step of the way. They started a webpage for visitors to show support. Three fellow teachers from work went a step further by forming "Chemo Crew".
Every morning before her trip to chemo, the "Chemo Crew" greeted her on her doorstep, decked out in whatever garb fit the theme for the day. One morning it was "The Hulk." Another day, cheerleaders. Heather's cheerleaders.
"Even though chemo is something you absolutely dread, they sent me away feeling strong," she said. "They always left me with a smile on my face."
Another thing which kept Heather motivated was her blog, "Cancer Stinks, But I Gotta Laugh." She says all this cancer stuff was getting way too serious, she wrote it because "it was time to have some fun".
"It got me through," Heather said. "I had to laugh at the little things. Once I started writing all those little things down, I ended up laughing more than I ever have."
Another reason she blogged? To document her journey for her two kids, Noah and Lexi. One day, she wants them to be able to understand what she went through.
"I want them to know we got through this, and together, we can get through anything."
Now, Heather is ready to fight for others in the area facing the same journey. She isn't sure how just yet, but she does want to give this piece of advice: "If I could say anything to someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer, I would tell them it is the hardest thing they will ever do. But with faith, family, and friends, anything can be done. When it happens you won't believe you can do it, but you can. One day at a time, one thing at a time. When you're done the skies are bluer, and everything has a different view."
Congratulations Heather for being our August Breast Cancer Survivor of the Month!