Local mom shares her breast cancer survival story

A Michigan mom in remission is using her experience with breast cancer to develop a product to help prevent the disease. 

A doctor at South Shore Women's Healthcare in St. Joseph said more men and women are being diagnosed with breast cancer every day.

Dr. Heidi Grabemeyer-Layman said, “By the age of 80 its been found that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.”

Jamie Kastelic said she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer when she was 33-years-old.

Kastelic said, “I was scared. I think the first thing that comes to your mind especially as a young mother, is is this going to kill me? Am I going to die from this?”

Kastelic said when she was diagnosed she had a baby boy who was still in diapers at home. She asked her husband to play with her kids outside when she found out the news.

Kastelic said, “I got in my car in my garage and I sobbed. I completely broke down.”

Following her double mastectomy she had a head shaving party before chemotherapy with her children. She said her 5-year-old shaved her head and they ate pink cupcakes.

Kastelic said, “My oldest son was extremely in love with long hair and I had always had very long hair and ironically I had been growing it out, to donate it to Locks of Love. So when I started chemo I wasn’t sure how he would handle it.”

After half a dozen surgeries, she nearly died following an infection from a complication of reconstruction surgery. This means she was unable to receive breast implants.

Kastelic said, “I can look in the mirror now and it doesn’t bother me.”

She decided to be bare and brave about what happened to her and she asked a local artist to paint her chest for her profile picture on Facebook.

Jenni Bush said, “It’s neat to be part of it, knowing that she’s strong enough to do something like that.”

Bush said she is an experienced face painter but never thought she would do something with this. 

Bush said Kastelic agreed to come with her to her first mammogram after she painted Kastelic's chest. 

Bush said, “I feel very blessed that she would want to come with me for this. She just volunteered just right off the bat.”

When Bush got in the room for her mammogram, she found a picture of Kastelic with the body mural peering down upon her during the procedure.

Now that Kastelic is in remission, she has created a company to help prevent breast cancer.

Kastelic said, "The more research I did, the more I was like o my gosh I need to stop using anything that has paraben, anything that has aluminum in it. so I started making my own shaving cream and body butter!”

In the last month, she’s launched her company of all natural beauty products that women can wear when they get a mammogram. 

You can find her products here: https://www.sperohopellc.com/

Most mammographers tell patients not to wear deodorant for the test because the aluminum in the product can inhibit the pictures. 

Kastelic said her all natural products are chemical free, so they can be worn during mammograms.

Kastelic said, “Each purchase that’s made is being made from the pink ribbon package, $10 is being donated to Marie Yaegar Cancer Services!”

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