EUGENE, Ore. - Katie Burke was 23 years old and newly wed with dreams of a family when she noticed the lump.
"I was married in August of 2008," she said, "and just a couple months after that I found a lump and my life changed.
Burke, who worked at a doctor's office, said cancer was fresh on her mind. She had just lost her grandmother to leukemia.
But she had no family history of breast cancer when she diagnosed with the disease in February 2009.
"I was kind of in fight mode where I just did what I needed to do and I knew I didn't want to die at 23 so I knew that was the best choice," she said of deciding to have both her breasts remvoed. "When I was first told that I had breast cancer, I was like, okay, let's cut them off. Let's just be done with them."
MARK YOUR CALENDAR OR SET YOUR DVR: KVAL News takes an in-depth look at the emotional toll breast cancer and masectomies can take on a woman - and varying opinions about the role a plastic surgeon. Watch KVAL 13 TV News at 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 28 and 29, 2010, for more on the story.
"If anything," Burke said, "it makes you sleep better at night just knowing that you've done everything possible to make sure that you don't get it again."
She had a lupectomy, then a double masectomy, followed by immediate reconstruction.
Her general surgeon had suggested she see a plastic surgeon before the masectomy.
"I just would have probably never seen a plastic surgeon," Burke said, "but I am so thankful that there is options out there because I could never imagine having an indented chest."
Now 25, Burke and her husband just celebrated their second wedding anniversary. They still hope to have two kids. "I'm hoping for twins," she said, "just get it all done and out of the way."
And when she heads out with her kids in tow, she will be breast cancer-free - but not breast-free, thanks to the plastic surgeon who took part in her cancer treatment.
"My breasts now look a lot like my breasts before," Burke said. "My breasts look really good, and I am really excited."
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