It was her 50th birthday, she had every reason to celebrate. Anita Hyman, a 1975 graduate of Herndon High School married her high school sweetheart and they had raised three smart, kind, beautiful daughters. 50-years-old was looking good! But on September, 28th, 2007, her 50th birthday, Anita got the call that she had breast cancer.
"I had breast calcifications for a long time so I was used to lumps in my breast, but I started noticing that when I hugged people, when I closed car doors, simple things started to hurt," Anita said.
The uncommon pain pushed her to get checked out and the result was DCIS, a non-invasive cancer that stays inside the milk duct.
"The hardest part was telling my girls, I was absolutely devastated" Anita said.
However, Anita considered herself lucky, she didn't have to go through radiation or chemotherapy to battler her breast cancer.
She underwent a mastectomy and says her girls were there for her every step of the way.
"I came home from the hospital and Natalie, Dani and Dina were all taking caring of me, so much so that my Italian mother said, hey! I'm the mom!"
Anita continued with check ups and screenings after her successful mastectomy. During one of those doctors visits there was good news and bad news. While the breast cancer was gone and hadn't spread she had a whole new diagnosis. Colorectal cancer.
"I didn't even tell anyone until I knew I had to go through chemo and radiation, only when I knew I would be losing my hair and it would be visible that I was sick," Anita said.
After a long hard battle, with the support of many friends, family and great doctors Anita beat both cancers. But she found what really helped get her through her cancer battle was talking about it.
"Talking about it helped get through it because you see that so many people are touched by it, someones mom, someones sister, aunt, cousin, friend, has or had cancer," Anita said.
"And if talking about my experience gets just one person go get a mammogram or go get checked out then it's worth it."
And now, on her 60th birthday, Anita is celebrating 10 years post breast cancer with three more smart, kind, beautiful girls, her granddaughters and her grandson.