Pink Up: Coping mechanism gives strength to others

Pink Up: Coping mechanism gives strength to others

BERNIE, MO (KFVS) - It's easy to think that you maybe immune to things like breast cancer when you have no family history of the disease and you're only 35 years old.

That was the case for Becky Dennington.

For her, things like painting nails is much more familiar.

She does that everyday at Tips to Toes in Bernie, Mo.

"I've always painted finger nails," Dennington said. "I used to have a suit case full of finger nail polish when I was a little girl so this is what I've always loved to do."

She said breast cancer, though, was a foreign idea.

"It was something that happened to other people," Dennington said. "I was the one that would pray for those people or I would think of those people or feel terrible for them, but to be diagnosed myself, I couldn't even put a picture with that."

According to Dr. Olivia Aranha at Saint Francis Medical Center, about 90 percent of breast cancers occur in women with no family history.

However, Dennington wasn't aware of that, therefore, she didn't feel the need to do monthly breast exams.

"I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't check myself, I didn't do my exams," she said.

However, that all changed in 2010 when a routine check up with the gynecologist led to being diagnosed with an aggressive form of stage 1 breast cancer.

When she got the news that her biopsy came back positive, it was a reality she wasn't ready to face or tell her family.

"I think I was numb until I told my husband and that's when, it just breaks your hear to have to say those words and to see the heartbreak on his face and to feel so helpless," Dennington said. "It was very scary."

It was the unknown that frightened her the most.

"You don't even know what that looks like," she said. "I couldn't even imagine did I look different at that moment or what was that going to look like in the future."

That is why she turned to writing.

She began putting her inner most thoughts on paper.

"It was about my fears and just what I was thinking and I felt better," she said.

Soon after, she began putting those same thoughts on a blog for others to see and know what she was going through without having to ask.

"I would put you know about going to the doctor or how I was feeling or what I was thinking as the day was coming up that I was going to lose my hair."

Her posts were eventually published in the book "Me and the Ugly C" after a friend pitched the idea to a publishing company.

Dennington's words shed light on a place she thought she'd never be and offer insight and comfort to other patients.

"When the unknown was the biggest most frightening part of it and I've talked to other people that say the same thing and so for someone who has been diagnosed to be able to read my story, it's not so unknown anymore," she said.

Dennington believed early detection saved her life.

Dr. Aranha said mammograms save thousands of lives each year, in fact Stage 0 and Stage 1 tumors have a 5-year survival rate of 100 percent.

People interested in reading her book can purchase it at Barnes and Noble or Amazon for just about $10.

Dennington said a portion of the proceeds go to 18 for Life, a local charity based out of Dexter, Mo.

Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved.