October's Mission Moment was written by Alicia Roberts, CBF Volunteer
If not for an untimely fall in the dog park, Yunna Jones doesn't know that she would have discovered her breast cancer, and certainly not in time for effective treatment.
But, while she was trying to get her 50-pound English bulldog and his best friend away from an aggressive dog, she fell and landed on her right breast. That was in April 2022.
When her breast turned lumpy, a Google search assured her it was normal. Still, something that felt like a cyst, for which she had been treated by a dermatologist previously, was bothering her right at her bra's underwire line. She saw her dermatologist, who sent her to a doctor, saying, "Let's be safe and rule out cancer."
That precaution caught the cancer in time to treat it. She was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer just this February, at age 35 and with no genetic markers for the disease.
Throughout her treatment, which will include both chemotherapy and radiation when all is said and done, her top priority has been staying busy and keeping a positive attitude.
You can call her a force of energy but even that might be an understatement.
When we lined up a few minutes to talk with her recently, she was taking care of the final preparations for a quick, weekend trip to Kentucky, where she was collecting a free mattress at the semi-annual United Breast Cancer Foundation Gift of Sleep event. She had to pack as well as coordinate a van rental, which she would need to carry home the new Tempur-Pedic® mattress and the pink bag of goodies that came with it.
And she was excited to spread the news to other Thrivers and Survivors.
"Your attitude makes a world of difference," she says. "Obviously, there are going to be bad days. But your attitude affects the way your body responds."
She says she's gotten signs to keep her positive since the day she was diagnosed, often in the form of butterflies.
Though she has no genetic markers for breast cancer, her mother had developed post-menopausal breast cancer. Right before she died, he mother dreamed she had transformed into a butterfly. Since then, Yunna says, butterflies have been special to her.
So, when her friend reached out on the day of her diagnosis to say had seen a butterfly in the dead of winter, she took it as a good sign. "It felt like my mom was saying you're on the right path," Yunna explains.
Same for when she went to her first meeting with her medical oncologist and her nurse navigator brought her a bag of supportive items from Carolina Breast Friends, with our big butterfly logo on it. Inside the bag were comfort items to help her weather the chemo and treatment experience. It also contained information on how to find support and connection through the The Pink House.
That bag led her to seek out community at The Pink House, and it has been a vital part of her journey ever since.
"I think community is really, really important," Yunna says. "It makes me sad, but so many people have been through this journey. You don't have to be alone."