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.
If you think the pandemic has been a gigantic pain in the butt, it’s been even harder for people like Tamara Muhlbach whose original plans after completing chemotherapy was to have a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. However, that is not what happened. Reconstruction had to be delayed and learning this news was not her “finest hour” she says. Months later, after several more delays and multiple surgeries, she’s happy to report the “ball is through the goal posts” and her surgeries are complete.
Muhlbach found she needed lots of help to get to appointments and just to function. As one of six sisters, mother to four, and grandmother to six, Muhlbach had a built-in support system. And, she adds, her family members were able to be there for each other too. “It was like each person had an assignment in helping me so that no one person had to bear it all. I’m so fortunate to have such a close-knit family,” Muhlbach says.
Recently, during a family gathering at Cape Canaveral, Muhlbach and her sisters decided that her bald head wasn’t going to stand in the way of their professional family photo shoot. “All my sisters just put on swim caps so I didn’t feel so awkward. It was amazing,” she says.
Muhlbach says for years after regular mammograms she’d inevitably need to have an ultrasound as well due to having dense breasts. It was inconvenient but she always complied. She’s glad she had an insurance change which prompted her to get her regular screenings scheduled right away. In the end, it meant her cancer HR2 +, an aggressive type of breast cancer, was caught early. “Getting regular screenings saved my life. Eighteen months later, I am cancer free and living life wholeheartedly,” Muhlbach says.