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In October 2004, Melissa discovered a lump in her breast while showering. "I looked down and went, 'Holy cow! What is that?' It was like it popped up overnight," she says. Melissa took action immediately, grateful to have the support of her family from the start. "I discovered it on a Thursday, I flew home on a Saturday where Tammy and my kids could see it. And it was an interesting thing because my kids were able to go through the whole journey with me."
Melissa had a lumpectomy to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy. She says undergoing chemo was the most painful part of her treatment: "It is like nothing you've ever imagined before. It is taking you as close to death [as you can get], because…it kills every dividing cell in your body." After treatment, Melissa says, "My eyes would start glassing over. You go away. You go to this place inside where everything—your whole body—is in pain."