DETROIT – A young mother who does mammograms for a living discovered her own breast cancer and now she's sharing her story to raise awareness about the power each of us has to find our own medical problems as early as possible.
As mammography technologist at the Beaumont Breast Care Center in Wayne, Kim Putek, understands the risk of breast cancer all too well. She was still stunned when she first felt her own lump at just 32 years old.
A chemotherapy center may seem like a strange place for a birthday celebration but Putek is more than ready to put this year behind her. It all started with a family trip to a zoo last summer with her husband, daughter and son.
"I'm in the passenger seat, seat belts coming right shoulder down, I happen to just kind of graze across my chest and I felt a lump," she said. "I didn't say anything for about a week and then finally I went to work and I said something to my boss."
She had a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy at her own hospital.
"She kept telling me she had a feeling she was scared that's what got me even more worried," she said. "I get to work early and boss looks at me and says, 'Come with me.' I knew, you know? You just know."
She had a double-mastectomy but decided against reconstruction because it meant more procedures and a longer recovery period and more missed moments with her young kids.
"I don't want to miss out on the hugs, the, you know, the snuggles, you know, the picking them up and you know, playing with them and all that stuff. I don't want to miss out on that," she said.
Putek said her husband has been supportive every step of the way.
"Couldn't imagine going through this with anyone else. He's my rock and, you know, we've been through it all," she said.
Putek has advice for everyone.
"Pay attention to your body, you know your body more than anybody else. You know, you're your best advocate for your body if you notice something, you know, don't brush it off," she said.
After 16 infusions of chemo Putek has finally finished, just in time for her 33rd birthday. She said she is so grateful to the doctors, nurses and all of her coworkers at Beaumont.