Yelina Medrano Skipper of Tampa, Fla., is a fourth generation breast cancer survivor. Skipper is currently 10 years in remission and her sister, Ivania Medrano Mejuto has been in remission for approximately 13 years. Skipper said, “My grandmother died at 40-years-old, my aunt died at 60-years-old, and my mother got it in her 50s, but was able to overcome it on three different times. The first two incidences were due to breast cancer and the third time was due to liver cancer.” With the support of Skipper’s family, she has embraced this difficult moment in her life and has used it as a vessel to help other women battling breast cancer.
Jennifer Godshall, NP of Wesley Chapel, Fla., has been a nurse for the past 14 years. The last four of those years have been as a nurse practitioner at a primary care office. Godshall stated, “Breast cancer is one of those topics that comes across many times in your field.” “Personally, I have also experienced it because my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer,” expressed Godshall. With proper care and early detection one can change their lifestyle to overcome this disease. There are many tests that one can take to detect early signs of breast cancer. For example, the BRACA test can be administered to those individuals who choose to detect the early stages of cancer.
Although the BRACA test is expensive, Skipper said, “There are different ways you can get help. Your doctor can write an appeal explaining why this test needs to be done. The American Cancer Society provides monetary help for those women who do not have the finances to get this type of testing done.” Skipper expressed “When one is diagnosed with breast cancer it is wise to get a second opinion for self reassurance.” When one finds out they have breast cancer, “The hardest part is getting over the fear of the unknown,” said Skipper.
The best way cancer has altered her lifestyle is by having a positive outlook on everything. Skipper often says, “How bad can it be, it is not cancer. I enjoy life and do not live in fear, I just go with it and enjoy.” It is important for one to live a healthier lifestyle by changing poor eating habits and exercising more frequently.
Skipper is very involved in Relay for Life because she wants to give back to future generations. Skipper said, “The money raised from the event goes to the American Cancer Society and then it is used towards research, the Hope Lodge, and wigs for those who cannot afford it. There are also programs where one can mentor and assist individuals who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Skipper expressed, “When I retire I want to mentor Latinas because I am Hispanic and many times the Hispanic population has a harder time because of the language barrier. Since they do not understand the language they are pretty much left on their own. This is something I look forward to doing in the near future.”