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Buddy Check 3 Feb 2014 Julie Waldroup
Every month, we feature a story on breast cancer.
Sometimes the focus is on research breakthroughs, survivor stories or local efforts to help raise awareness.
Tonight's story centers on a viewer who became a friend and then a patient.
It's a thoroughly modern friendship, Julie Waldroup and I met on Twitter. I was drawn to her funny, upbeat tweets.
But over Christmas, her posts grew more somber .
I realized she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The day she found out -- Julie put it on Facebook and was met with tons of support.
A friend made her a "Team Julie" page -- where she shares her experience starting with how she found her tumor through self exam.
(("I had a couple of friends direct message me, what's a self breast exam, how do I do that, I'm gonna go talk to my doctor about it."))
Annette King says help and hope are her little sister's specialty.
(("She's always been very open and outgoing, always willing to help other people, put herself out there."))
Julie's decided to have a double mastectomy.
She had other options but chose that route.
(("I want it gone. I want to live, I want to be here. I have a lot of things I want to do with my life and I'm not ready to go to the next one."))
A week later, it's surgery day.
(("Since the last time we talked, I found out I will have to have chemotherapy."))
There's other news too.
A biopsy shows Julie's cancer is very aggressive, and has a high reoccurrence rate.
(("I was very naive. It's not just another bad cold. We're gonna cut em off and I won't have to worry about it no more. No, that's not the case."))
Julie's a single mom, full time nursing student, longtime Army Reservist and a war veteran.
Details and questions begin to plague the independent soldier.
(("Whose gonna brush my hair, whose gonna help me get dressed and I'm pretty sure I know those answers."))
Her niece and sister are right here's she prepares for her first procedure.
Radiologist Donald Farmer localizes the lymph nodes near her breasts -- during her surgery they'll be checked to see if the cancer has spread.
Doctor Farmer truly understands -- his wife went through this exact procedure a few years ago.
He says Julie's choice to have a double mastectomy will give her physiological comfort level as she heals.
(("Is this year gonna be the year, that I have cancer. Is it gonna come back, I think for you, you made the right choice."))
Julie's nursing classmates gather right before it's time to go. Before she sees them again, she'll find out if the cancer has spread and if she'll be able to continue her studies with them this year.
We are happy to share some great news about Julie. Her surgery went well.
They did find out her tumor was a Stage Three cancer. But it has not spread.
Julie was back doing her nursing clinicals just four days after her double mastectomy.
She begins chemotherapy tomorrow, and we will keep you posted on her progress. Click here for more health stories