Buddy Check 12: One woman's journey - Part 1 - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Buddy Check 12: One woman's journey - Part 1

Posted: Updated: April 12, 2011 06:49 AM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

We do Buddy Check 12 reports every month on Heartland News to remind women about the importance of early breast cancer detection and to provide support and information for those battling with cancer..

For the next several months, Judy Settle is going to help us do that.

Judy was diagnosed with breast cancer in February, and she's agreed to let us go along with her on her journey to beat the disease.

First, let's meet Judy.

"I have 2 children, my daughter is 11, my son is 14. He's a thriving student at Notre Dame and my daughter has special needs. She has Down's Syndrome so I home school her," Settle said.

"My brother lives with us because he also has cancer and has been going through treatment," she added.

The 48 year old, Jackson mom is a busy woman. She's admittedly got a lot on her plate and earlier this year, breast cancer was piled on top of that. She first found a lump while getting out of the shower in January.

"All of a sudden I stopped and I was just like, that doesn't belong there," she said. "Then I started feeling more closely and the fear gripped me but I put it aside," she added.

At first she thought it was a fibroid cyst, something common in her family. That along with a little superstition lead her to wait until February to call her doctor. Judy said bad news had always come in January for her family for some time, so there was no way she was calling in January.

So a couple of weeks later in February, she made the call.

Her doctor ordered a round of tests.

"And then I waited, that was the hard part," Judy said.

On February 16, Judy tested positive for Invasive Ductile Carcinoma.

She remembers getting the news.

"I hung up the phone and I sat there and took a few deep breaths and thought I was going to lose my mind."

Her first calls to her best friend, then her priest. Like most moms, her biggest concern, her children.

Oh my God, how do I tell my son," she wondered. "With my brothers news being bad I thought, I'm going to be dead in a few years or weeks of months."

She says her priests words helped her move forward.

"First you take a deep breath, you find out exactly what your prognosis is and you present it to him in a calm uplifting way and he won't be terrified," those were the words she said he told her.

And that's what she did. She says she and her son were even able to share a few laughs when she broke the news.

A lot of women can relate to Judy's story. A busy mom, a caretaker, the family cornerstone.

But she says she's not sharing it so you'll feel sorry for her, she's sharing it so you or someone you love can maybe feel a little support and comfort on their own journey through breast cancer.

And it doesn't take long to realize, Judy's strength is inspiring.

"I just have the sink or swim attitude. I've had it all my life," she said.

She says her daughter helped teach her that.

"You don't have options in life when it comes to something like that. You either survive or you don't and I don't want to be one of those that sits in the corner and shrinks and goes away," she said. "I want the world to hear me… laughs…I roar," she said added laughing.

And so Judy is roaring her way into treatment. She's already had a mastectomy, and has begun the process for reconstructive surgery.

And we were there on April 11th as she started the first of 16 weeks of chemotherapy. She will also undergo radiation.  She'll receive all her treatment at the Southeast Cancer Center in Cape Girardeau.

She's says already there have been hard times.

"I kept it together in front of everybody, when we went to bed that night, the tears just flowed," she remembered of getting the news.

But with the support of her husband of 20 years and her strong sense of humor, "We have had laughs at every turn," she said.

She hopes her battle can help someone along their own."

"Cancer isn't a good thing but it doesn't have to be that scary cause there's a lot of people willing to give you emotional support. It's something we go through, it's just a bump in the road."

To help others through their bumps in the road, Judy will share the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to battling breast cancer.

She does have a good prognosis and we are honored to go along with her as she beats this disease.

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