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WAUSAU (WAOW) -
Deb Tuft of Wausau had a massive curve ball thrown into her marriage right after saying 'I do'.
Two weeks after her wedding to Chris, she had a mammogram at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. At just forty years old, it was the first she'd ever had. One mammogram turned to two, then an ultrasound and a biopsy, then diagnosis.
"My husband said he could actually tell before she told me because the nurse wouldn't look at either of us when she came to get us." Tuft says.
Breast cancer. But they'd caught it early. Thanks to that first mammogram."
Looking back, Tuft says, "I know we never would have found it. It was only a nine millimeter mass. If I had not gone, it probably could have gotten a lot worse."
Deb didn't pay for her mammogram. If fact, she's never seen a bill for any of her treatments. Everything up until her lumpectomy was paid for by a grant given to the Aspirus Women's Foundation by the Central Wisconsin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen. Her surgery and subsequent radiation treatments were paid for by the Wisconsin Well Women program. Without those services, Deb knows her cancer likely would have been caught too late.
So she tells her story in hopes of pushing other women toward the doctor.
"It was tough to talk about when I first found out. I didn't really want to tell anybody. But, I figure if I can help somebody, it's worth it."
A tattoo on her wrist is all that reminds deb of her scare. She got it at six months cancer free. A forever reminder of her battle and the people who kept her alive.
Today, Deb is cancer free. She'll go back to the doctor in a few months for another check up. After that, she'll have to go back one or twice a year.
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