SCHOFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) – A recent report says there are more than 3.8 million women in the U.S. with a history of breast cancer. But, as Veronica Lyon explained, family history isn’t always a reliable factor in diagnosing the disease.
“This is Michelle,” Veronica said as she points to a picture on her fireplace mantle. “When she’s a little little girl that you would never think cancer is going to affect.”
Veronica Lyon is a mother of three daughters. She was living what one would call a normal life, until 2018. “She was diagnosed in 20-18 on her 40th birthday week.”
Michelle was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer, the type of cancer that has already spread throughout the body.
“There was no family history at all, so it was just a big ugly phone call.”
Since there was no family history of breast cancer, Michelle wasn’t able to get a mammogram until she was 40 through insurance.
“This is Michelle with her hair before she had chemo treatments, this picture actually is, I paid $300 for her to get her hair colored before she lost it and she lost it a week later, but you know what it’s the best $300 I’ve spent because it’s cool,” Veronica said as she showed more pictures of her family.
But the shock didn’t end there. Her other daughter Krista, 37, was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer just two months after Michelle. Her other daughter jean. But, Jean decided to get a double mastectomy as a preventative when she was 34.
Now the family wants to share their stories to raise awareness.
“I have three lights outside my house that I keep on all of the time, and they are pink, teal and green, which stands for metastatic breast cancer,” Veronica said.
Her daughters have all moved out and are living their own lives. But they all keep in touch on ways to make things better for each other.
“If I could change a law, let kids have mammograms so much earlier, and I used to say 30 but now I’m meeting parents who’ve had 30-year-olds who’ve already passed with breast cancer, so I don’t know what the golden age would be for that, but certainly not 40,” Veronica said.
The biggest struggle Michelle faces for treatment is traveling. She has to travel over 10 hours every week for chemo. The family has a GoFundMe page to help pay for some of the expenses. If you would like to donate, click here.
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