SACRAMENTO — It’s Pink Week and a local breast cancer survivor shared her story with FOX40.
“I felt great. I had no symptoms whatsoever,” Allison Mitchell said.
On the outside Mitchell said she felt completely normal but her annual mammogram would reveal a silent killer living inside her own body.
“I went back in, had a biopsy that day when I went back in, and sure enough — cancer. Stage 3 cancer,” Mitchell said.
It was a diagnosis she never thought she’d hear and it quickly turned her life upside down.
“It was a whirlwind,” Mitchell described.
In a matter of weeks, she underwent her first surgery and the months following would bring some of the biggest challenges in her life.
“Surgery, piece of cake. I can take any surgery. The chemo was a little bit harder,” Mitchell said.
She received chemotherapy treatments once a week for five months and endured the symptoms many women battling breast cancer face every day. She lost her hair and grew tired as she fought for her life.
But when her doctors switched her to a new chemotherapy drug, she almost gave up.
“I had a reaction to it and my legs gave out. I couldn’t walk for three days,” Mitchell explained. “It hurt so bad. I just … I didn’t want to do any more treatment. I figured death by cancer has to be better than this pain, right?”
A pep talk with her nurse gave her the willpower to keep going — the willpower that would eventually save her life.
“She gave me her story and told me other stories. And I thought, ‘OK, if those other ladies can make it through, I can do it too,'” Mitchell said.
Nine months after she was diagnosed, Mitchell beat cancer and she says her story would have been drastically different if she had missed her routine mammogram appointment.
“Never miss your mammogram appointments. I could have very easily passed mine over and the impact of missing that, even if I had put it off for six months, could have been catastrophic,” Mitchell said.
But thankfully, Mitchell is still here today to share her story and inspire other women battling breast cancer to find the strength to push forward.
“You can’t stop the process,” she said. “If you do, you’ll drown. So, you keep swimming and when you get to the other side you get out of the water and you shake yourself off and you keep going.”