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Buddy Check: A mother of three fights for her life

6:18 PM, May 11, 2012   |    comments
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Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

As we near Mother's Day this weekend, that phrase could not be closer to the truth for one family.

Andrea Winton relishes the time with her three kids.

Especially since the seemingly healthy Knoxville mother of two, found out she had breast cancer while pregnant with her third child.

"You don't ever know when it could be your last day, family is very valubable to me," explained Winton, "Spending time with my family and making sure my kids grow up to be good people."

Her realization life was short came at just 26-years-old, "They called me in January of '09 and said you have breast cancer."

Breast cancer: a mother of two, with a third on the way.

"I think I was just stunned. I didn't really know about it, or what to say or what to do, I was just shocked," said Winton.

She already had Addison, and just gave birth to Lillian. She was now pregnant with Liam.

So, she waited five months to tell anyone about what she felt during a breast self exam.

"I could feel almost like a couple of marbles on the side of my chest and I thought it probably has something to do with breast feeding and I actually didn't do anything about it, I just let it go," said Winton.

When she finally saw a doctor about it, there was no waiting for treatment. The now very pregnant Andrea, underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.

Winton explained, "It was very scary because I was constantly worried about my baby, worried about his growth and how that would possibly affect him."

It turns out, Andrea wasn't the only one in her 20's receiving treatment for breast cancer in Knoxville. Thompson Breast Center has seen a steady increase in young patients over the last decade.

"It's shocking to be quite honest," said Oncology Nurse, Elmeria Teffeteller, "It's very puzzling as to how we ended up with this many people in their 20's and 30's who are struggling with breast cancer and often times it's a more aggressive disease."

The oldest child of Andrea and her husband, Addison, now just six years-old, kept herself busy with her dolls, "I usually played with my dolls, that's all I did."

Andrea gave birth to Liam in July 2009. He is a healthy, mischevious little boy.

But just when this mom thought she was in the clear, her cancer came back.

Andrea explained, "They had found on an ultrasound another place almost a year after they had found another area on the same side and I did surgery again to remove that area."

This time, she underwent radiation and more time away from being a mom, "I am not even 30 yet and I have already been through this twice, so it's like it can happen to you."

Now, this mother of three is cancer free. With Mother's Day around the corner she's holding on to her babies tight. She remembers the moments playing on the floor with your children are priceless.

"I don't ask for things, I don't want things. I am just happy that I am here. That is the biggest gift to be able to be here for my kids."

Andrea just turned 30 last Friday, May 4th.

She will continue to take medicine for years, and have cancer check-ups every three months.

For more information on breast cancer you can head to Thompson Cancer Survival Center or call 865-541-1753. Also, with questions and concerns you can contact Susan G. Komen For The Cure.

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