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Days after her diagnosis, Christina says she reached out to family and friends, including Melissa Etheridge, a Grammy winner and breast cancer survivor. Melissa shared the lessons she learned during the fight for her own life.

"The first thing she said to me is: 'Christina, this is a blessing that's happened to you in your life. Right now, you get to start over, and right now you get to change everything—the way that you deal with things in life, the way that you react to things. Fear can hurt you. Stress can hurt you. This is the time that you have this opportunity to change the way you eat...everything you do,'" Christina says.

Christina now looks at her health scare as a blessing. "I am a 36-year-old person with breast cancer, and not many people know that that happens to women my age or women in their 20s," she says. "This is my opportunity now to go out and fight as hard as I can for early detection."

As she's learned, early detection may not come from a mammogram. Christina says she will fight for women to have access to MRIs and genetic testing, which many insurance companies won't pay for.

Christina says her health scare has shifted her priorities completely. "[There's] this need and this desire to make every single day count," she says. "I used to say ... 'Don't sweat the small stuff—not even the big stuff.' At the end of the day, none of it matters but your own joy, your own spiritual journey that you go on, God, your loved ones, your friends, your animals. These are the things you've got to cherish and love and embrace."
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FROM: Christina Applegate: Why She Had a Double Mastectomy
Published on September 30, 2008
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

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