DETROIT – Her doctors told her it was nothing, but soon enough, Kim Adams learned she had breast cancer, and her instincts might have saved her life.
Adams wants the world to know how lucky and thankful she is to be alive. It might run counter to the conventional understanding of the word "lucky."
She opened up about her fight with sudden and aggressive breast cancer. It was a tough journey for the mother of five, but she's still here.
Those who are fans of Adams, and there are many, already know a lot about her life. She left Local 4 to be with her naval officer husband in Rhode Island. Then, when the Navy moved them to Mississippi, it turned out they were moved right into the path of Hurricane Katrina.
She thought it would be the ordeal of her life. About a year ago, Adams had rebuilt that life in quite a few ways. She was back in Detroit as a single mother of five and the main breadwinner for her family.
Adams was at home doing television commercials and running Kim Adams Productions.
The hurricane had taken just about everything from her, but it and a tough divorce were finally receding in the rearview mirror. That's when she found the lump.
"I was making breakfast for the kids and I bent over to pick something up, and I touched my shirt to hold my shirt," Adams said. "I felt a lump almost under my armpit, and it was a good-sized lump. I felt that heat in your body of when you know something is wrong, and I thought, 'Oh God, not now. Not now.' But I knew."
Adams doesn't let things slide. Everything in her home is labeled and in its place. She craves order, so she headed straight to a doctor, who told her it was likely just a cyst, but to have a mammogram and an ultrasound just in case.
"She comes back in and she's, like, 'OK, it's a swollen lymph node. Everyone has them. Just keep an eye on it. If nothing changes, just come back for your yearly mammogram,'" Adams said.
Then she talked to her gynecologist, who also said it was probably just swollen lymph nodes. Still bothered, Adams talked to a surgeon who said the same thing. Four voiced had told her she was fine.
"You couldn't find anyone to give you bad news," Adams said. "Hard as I tried."
But it still didn't feel right. While it was back to the children and work, the new year brought a change of health care, which mean a new doctor and a new opinion. She told Adams they should skip the biopsy and take the lump out.
"(I asked), 'When?'" Adams said. "She said, 'I'd like to do it in the next couple of days.'"
After four months, there was a sudden urgency, and the lumpectomy led to a 37-second phone call in a library Adams said she'll never forget. It was invasive ductal carcinoma, grade two to three and aggressive, and it had spread.
"All I could think, I have to be honest, was, 'I don't have time for this,'" Adams said. "I had the stomach flu the year before for two days. The house fell apart. I don't have time for it."
The weight of all she did set in to the point that she put off the surgery for a few days to take the children on a sudden surprise trip to Florida.
Adams went from hearing her lump was just lymph nodes to undergoing an emergency double mastectomy, but there wasn't more to do but press on. Her cancer means she'll also be undergoing a complete hysterectomy in the next few months.
"But just as a woman, you lose your breasts, you lose your hair," Adams said. "For me, I have to lose everything. My ovaries, my uterus, everything has to go, and it feels like everything that makes you a woman is taken away."
Adams joked that with five children, her ovaries did all they were supposed to do, so she will press on.
Aside from being back on the television, Adams is now passionate about what she learned in her cancer odyssey. She said you have to be your own advocate. She believes in herself because it turned out she was right. But she said she doesn't want pity, because she feels lucky.
"I do go through things that are maybe unfair or difficult, but I always manage to get back up again, and usually it happens fairly quickly," Adams said. "I hate that, 'Poor Kim.' ... (I feel fortunate) every day. I woke up this morning and took my five kids to school and they're healthy. I'm fortunate."
If you want to reach out to Adams and offer support, you can click here to visit her Facebook page.