Lee Ann Fries

On February 11, 2018, I was taking a bath and discovered a lump in my breast. It felt large and my breast did not look normal, and I worried about it all night. I could not get into my gynecologist’s office for two months, so I ended up going to an urgent care center. The urgent care team got me into a facility that could do a mammogram and ultrasound the same day. The results went to the urgent care physician who let me know a biopsy was recommended. I was devastated, wasn’t sure which way to turn. I remembered someone from my local Mom’s Facebook group in Stuart offered to help. I reached out to Lisa Johnson, a contact at Jupiter Medical Center’s Margaret W. Niedland Breast Center, and she jumped in immediately and took care of everything, including paperwork and appointments. She was an absolute angel, and I will be forever grateful for her.

Even before my biopsy results, I made a decision to radically change my life. I decided to change my diet first and adopted an organic nutritarian vegan diet. Before I knew it, I was losing weight and had more energy. My radiologist performed my biopsy and confirmed my worst fears with a diagnosis of cancer. A few days later, I was seen by Dr. Nancy Taft, medical director of the Breast Program at Jupiter Medical Center. Then I met with my nurse navigator, Donna, who scheduled additional tests. Everyone at the Margaret W. Niedland Breast Center was wonderful!

As the days passed, my stress and anxiety rose. My family attends St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Stuart. I reached out to Sister Martina, who comforted and encouraged me. I am a person of great faith and knew I needed to turn this over to God. I decided that cancer would not be my death sentence. It would be my love story—a way for change in my life and to better myself. I continued to visit the sisters and my priest, Father Noel, for prayer.

The day of surgery, I told my surgeon that I had an army of prayer warriors praying for me and for her and the surgical team. She hugged me, held my hand, and told me that she had been praying for me and that she was the Lord’s instrument and that God would be performing the surgery through her hands. My plastic surgeon, Dr. Jason Cooper, and Dr. Taft completed my surgery, and I received the good news that all of the cancer had been removed. I saw Dr. Sumithra Vattigunta-Gopal a medical oncologist at Jupiter Medical Center and had an Oncotype test. The test indicated I did not need chemotherapy. I chose not have radiation therapy.

I thank God daily for my health. I continue to thank him daily for his goodness, faithfulness and love. I eat to live and thank God for giving me everything I need to heal my body naturally. God is good all the time!

My message for other women:

A cancer diagnosis does not have to be your death sentence. Think of cancer as a message of love and hope—a signal to look at your life, listen to your body and make changes. No one wants or dreams of cancer, but in many ways it can change your life for the better. Decide each day to be thankful to God for what you have been given. Have an attitude of gratitude. Be forgiving. Let things go; don’t hold grudges. Choose to live and be positive. Decide to make a difference in someone else’s life. Enjoy the world God has given you by getting outside daily. Breathe, relax, walk and pray. Claim your healing daily. Tell yourself you are healed by the blood of Jesus. Smile … even when it’s hard. Always remember you are beautiful, special, strong and loved! You can beat cancer! Choose to live life to the fullest!

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