CINCINNATI - The American Cancer Society's slogan is "More Birthdays." It just so happens that our Good Morning Tri-State anchor Kathrine Nero's birthday is Friday. As many of you know, Kathrine was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. And she says that her cancer battle makes this year's birthday celebration even better. After a rough few months, she sat down with Carol Williams to talk about it, hoping that it will help others.
Kathrine meets her daughters, Elizabeth and Annabelle at the school bus almost every day. They get a snack and talk about their day. It's their normal routine. But their summer wasn't so normal. Their mom was home and when she needed rest they got to spend time with their friends.
"They thought it was a rock star summer. I spent a lot more time with them when I was off work recovering. For them, this was like a fun summer. They're going to look back on this and think Mom was home all the time," said Kathrine.
While it was great for the girls, it wasn't so great for Kathrine.
"If you were wondering why I wasn't here, well here's why. One month ago today my daily routine went out the window. I found out that I had breast cancer. Now I'm 38, young by breast cancer standards, and have no family history. So this was the furthest things from our minds. After the initial shock it was time to fight it. I've had a lumpectomy and some lymph nodes removed and the next step will likely be radiation. I found this lump, and by talking about it and as women, this is our first line of defense, and by talking about it I hope it encourages you take those same steps," said Kathrine on July 11, 2012 during Good Morning Tri-State.
You may watch Kathrine on TV every morning, but despite what you think, she is a private person. She only made that impassionate plea to help other women from finding out too late.
Carol asked, "What was your first thought?"
"At first, you are freaked out. I don't even know what they were telling me, there's a doctor and a nurse navigator, trying to console you and tell you the prognosis. I just kept thinking I need to get out of this room. I want to go home," said Kathrine.
Kathrine has no family history, which made her first phone call that much harder.
"I didn't cry until I told my mom, I called my mom on the phone from the parking lot of St. Elizabeth Hospital. I couldn't go to her house, I couldn't walk over there because she lives in Memphis and so until you say it, I have breast cancer. It was like, 'Ohhhh,'" said Kathrine.
She had mucinous carcinoma. A rare form of invasive breast cancer that starts in the milk duct. Kathrine was diagnosed on June 11 and had her lumpectomy about two and a half weeks later. She spent the next week recovering on the couch.
"I got up and got dressed and my oldest daughter Elizabeth said, 'Mom do you have cancer anymore?' Well, I guess I don't because I had the lumpectomy, and she said I can tell because you are wearing clothes. In her mind, because I didn't have my pajamas on I didn't have cancer," said Kathrine.
When asked what she learned from this experience, Kathrine replied, "I think that I've learned the importance of relationships in general, your kids, husbands and neighbors, and even viewers. Just to know that people are thinking of you and have your best interest at heart.
Kathrine shared her story to encourage women to do their self breast exams and get their mammograms. As she said on Good Morning Tri-State, we are the first line of defense.
The earlier you catch it the more likely the chance of surviving it.