LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - People dread to hear the words "breast cancer." They also dread to get mammograms.
A nurse and mother of four is urging everyone to get their yearly mammogram after she put it off for years, only to find cancer after her first test.
Michelle Willhite will never forget the text she got on her 40th birthday.
"I got a text from my OBGYN's office saying that it was time for me to start my annual mammogram," Willhite said.
Despite being an experienced nurse, she ignored the text for three and a half years.
"It's because I had heard so many people talk about how painful. It's so painful," Willhite said.
That first mammogram and followup scans would reveal she had breast cancer. The mother of four was literally speechless.
"I couldn't even call my husband and verbally tell him over the phone because I couldn't even talk" Willhite said.
Making a curtain call, Dr. Dana Abraham of the Abraham Breast Clinic.
"Breast cancer affects the whole family," Willhite said. "It is a family disease."
"All I could think about is me being sick," Willhite said. "That they're gonna have a Mom that's sick."
Dr. Abraham's immediately recognized Michelle had an advantage.
"Fortunately, she already because of her medical background spoke some of the lingo," Willhite said.
Dr. Abraham's demeanor and Michelle's research helped her get through the double mastectomy to lessen the chances of the cancer returning.
"And when you have a surgeon and you're confident in what they can do and they go in and they remove from you what can potentially kill you," Willhite said. "I mean it just, you have a lot of respect and it and it you get not an emotional bond but it means a lot like I get emotional talking about it. It's a very emotional."
Understandable. Facing cancer can do that to even the most analytical among us.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Abraham clinic celebrates the power of pink
And salutes the Michelles of this world
"If anyone gets anything out of my story it's that mammograms do not hurt like everyone says they are," Willhite said. "Let me tell you what hurts is when someone tells you you've got cancer so that's where the pain is"
So get your mammogram.