New Milford woman who lost sister to breast cancer shares story of overcoming her own diagnosis
Jamie Pleva Nickerson's story begins 20 years ago when her big sister Tracy felt a lump.
She went to the doctor, she pointed to it and said, 'this isn't normal,' to which the doctor replied, 'Tracy, you are too young for breast cancer.'
But the doctor was wrong.
Before Tracy died, Jamie says her sister blazed trails for nine years helping to found the 'Young Survival Coalition', a national nonprofit.
In 2008, genetic testing revealed Jamie was a carrier for BRCA1, a type of breast cancer.
Knowing what she was up against, Jamie says she decided to have a prophylactic mastectomy.
However, pre-surgery scans reveled Jamie had cancer.
Doctors assured her that they would be able to remove the cancer through the surgery and chemotherapy.
"Some friends of mine reached out and told me, 'Jamie don't forget you want children in your future and chemo can rob that of young women.'”
Doctors harvested Jamies eggs the morning of Tracy’s funeral, and four hours later she was reading her older sister's eulogy.
Jamie says it was in the same room, that a friend's little brother provided a distraction.
"When Kevin asked me on a date I was like 'you are 23 I am 30, and I am in the middle of cancer... really?' Jamie says.
Kevin says he knew he liked Jamie before what she was going through, but she just didn't give him the time of day.
But that changed.
"I want marriage, I want babies, and I want it now, I want it fast," Jamie says. "Kevin was like, 'do we go to town hall now?'”
The parents now have twins, and as the years fly, joy and worry mingle.
Jamie says she is now working on a book about her sister's saga, and their battle with breast cancer.
"If we can help one other family to not go through what we did, that would be amazing," Jamie says.