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Cancer survivor shows her children that beauty comes from within


Tammy and her family were having fun tubing at Deep Creek when she was thrown off of the tube and into the water. Her life jacket had pulled at her chest and, when she climbed back up, she could feel a small lump. She was 38 at the time, so the cancer wasn’t on her radar.  But over July 4th weekend she underwent a biopsy, and it was confirmed that she had stage 3B breast cancer.

“You hear cancer and you’re terrified, you think ‘this is it,’ which is probably the wrong thing to do,” Tammy recalls. Dr. Rubino delivered both of her children, so she intimately trusted him and felt comfortable putting her wellness in his hands. She underwent chemo, radiation treatments, and ultimately surgery.

“I had a bilateral mastectomy, and had my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in the same day. When you grow up, there is this perception of what a woman should look like. When you lose your hair, you lose a lot of identity, but it was a good lesson to learn. It doesn’t matter how anyone else perceives me, it’s about how I perceive myself. God created me, not to have a perfect breast size or lots of hair, but to really be a person that my daughters can anchor to. To show that, no matter how you look, it’s you that’ll make the difference.”

Tammy playfully refers to herself a “fabulously flat,” an important message she’s passing down to her daughters, now 10 and 14.  She’s a scarf-tying professional, cancer-survivor, and rockstar mom with an empowering message:

“Women need to take charge, and do the small things that gives you joy, feeds your soul, and anchors your heart. Women, especially mothers, tend to put themselves on the back burner. You can do anything you want. But remember to laugh at yourself. When life gets you down, it’s the best way to bounce back up.”