This the fourth and final story about breast cancer survivors published during Breast Cancer Awareness month.
ANDERSON — Anderson native Vickie Nave, 62, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994 at the age of 43.
"A small lump was found when I went for my mammogram," said Nave. "After a biopsy, I was told that I had Stage I of an invasive type of breast cancer and had three options. I could wait and see if there were any changes, I could have a lumpectomy or I could have a mastectomy."
"My mom died of cancer," said the divorced mother of three. "When I heard there was a 99% chance of survival with the mastectomy, I immediately decided that was what I wanted to do."
Nave's doctor suggested she go home and talk to her family before making a decision, but Nave said that she felt like it was her body and her decision. "I felt at peace with my decision and had the mastectomy a week later. I had one round of radiation following my surgery and took Tamoxifen for five years."
A year after her mastectomy, Nave decided to have reconstructive surgery after hearing about a procedure called Tram Flap from a friend. "I found out they could use my own tissue from my abdomen to form the new breast. It was done by a plastic surgeon in Muncie," said Nave. "I saw the exact procedure done on the Discovery Channel without knowing it was even going to be shown and felt it was God's way of letting me know I was doing the right thing."
Nave is an active member of Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church and is involved with Project Hope as a mentor for at risk children. "I started out as a volunteer at the jail in the 1990's and now I am a certified Chaplin through the Madison County Sheriff's Department," said Nave. "I've always had a heart for children and help with them at church as well. Most of them just want to be loved and shown that you care."