Jo Nelson 

2021 Model Survivor

1987 newly graduated RN and “self-imposed expert “in all things healthy – I found the first lump in my breast. Shattered myself image of perfection. It was a benign cyst. I got involved with the Lee's Summit Hospital auxiliary and became the auxiliaries “poster child” for the first mammography machine! As a health educator for the hospital, I taught thousands of women the importance of self breast exams, physician exams, and mammography. I also served on the American Cancer Society - Lee Summit board of directors; again breast cancer “expert”. Jump ahead 25 years, 25 mammograms, and even more breast sonograms to the spring of 2014. I figured this was just another cyst that I found. So I waited...About two months! It was still there, so I called my doctor. I wasn’t in a hurry since my mammo in December was normal. Two weeks past before I saw Dr. Hailey. She sent me immediately for a sonogram, even though we decided it was probably just another cyst! The radiologist came in the exam room, which is never a good sign! He wanted a biopsy to be sure. I got the biopsy on Friday as a nurse and a “frequent flyer” of the Lee’s Summit Hospital radiology department, I knew what the diagnosis was going to be. Monday, July 21, 2014, 3 PM, the phone call from Dr. Haley arrived. I had invasive ductal carcinoma...Breast cancer.

Why me? No, why NOT me? I had the experience, the education, the resources of a fantastic medical team, a super supportive family, and a huge God! Our team motto: Pray. Hope. Believe. Fight. And we did! 14 chemo therapy treatments, 4 surgeries, 3 surgeons, 3 hospital stays and numerous doctor with the best oncologist on the planet visits later, at age 57, I am a wife, mother of two grown daughters, a daughter in law, a mother in law, and a grandmother to two precious little men...I am 5 years a fighter!