This month, in partnership with AdventHealth for Women, we’re recognizing some of the women in our community who are survivors of breast cancer, who have had a recurrence, or who are currently going through treatment. To us, all of these women are survivors in their own right. It is the hope of these women that by telling their stories they inspire and educate other women who are facing a breast cancer diagnosis.
Six months isn’t a very long time, it just depends on the subject. In six months, Earth travels halfway around the sun. In six months, a leopard can go from conception to giving birth to her cub. Every six months you might get your teeth cleaned, and we change our clocks just as often.
For Brea Weiss, six months was how long it took for her to go from having a “clean” mammogram to being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Weiss had a baseline mammogram when she was thirty years old, due to having fibrocystic breasts, a common condition that can cause dense breast tissue. At age 39, she was used to the routine of annual mammograms. So when the “gnarly” wrinkle and dimpling on her breast first appeared, she was concerned but assumed all would be fine given her mammogram six months prior where nothing was found. “I was just so surprised because it had grown so large so quickly,” Weiss says.
Everything went into fast-forward for Weiss. It may have only taken six months for her cancer to grow, but it only took two months for her to receive a diagnosis, have a mastectomy, and begin treatment. Weiss gives credit to her “rock star physician” at AdventHealth Celebration. Having a doctor who is a leader in their field is important, but one that gets to know their patient is an added benefit. “My breast specialist was so strong, medically, and compassionate. She’s become a dear and treasured friend over the years, and I can’t thank her enough for saving my life,” Weiss says.
Now cancer-free for about seven years—that’s approximately 84 months—Weiss says her cancer changed her fundamentally as a person. She says she doesn’t sweat the small stuff and may finally be learning patience.