At 25, Mikala thought she was too young for cancer.
Today, she's too strong to let it keep her down.
Mikala and her father, Scott.
On September 3, 2011, Mikala felt a lump in her breast. Being only 25 years old, she was alarmed but didn't think it could be the "c" word because of her young age. She went to her doctor, who ordered an ultrasound followed by a mammogram. By the next week she was at the John C. Lincoln Breast Health and Research Center having a mammogram performed with the center's groundbreaking, 3-D breast imaging technology.
"The lump that was 'just a cyst given my age' came back on September 20, in those three words no one wants to hear ... you have cancer," says Mikala. "I was scared."
Before finding the lump in her breast, Mikala had just begun her first "real job" a year out of college and was also working two nights a week with children and adults with disabilities. She was working toward her "dream career" while completing her Masters of Public Administration and had hoped to become one of three chosen for the City of Phoenix City Managers internship program. But it all came to a screeching halt with those three words.
Mikala was understandably confused, frustrated and emotional, but instantly felt at ease when she walked through the doors of the Breast Health and Research Center.
"The office is so warm, welcoming and dignifying," says Mikala. "Being a 25-year-old, walking into a breast biopsy two weeks after feeling a lump is not something you want to do, but the office setup alone made it easier. The pink and brown colors are so inviting and small things like a nice robe help to add a touch of comfort."
In fact, Mikala became so comfortable at John C. Lincoln, the staff started to feel like a family, giving her the support she needed, taking the time to ask about her needs and explaining everything she needed to know.
"I cannot speak more highly about the staff," exclaims Mikala. "I have come to develop a personal relationship with these women since my diagnosis and I honestly can say I don't know how I would do this without their support. I am so grateful for the Breast Health and Research Center and cannot say enough."
"My diagnosis has really placed my entire life into perspective, showing me things like a 4.0 GPA and competitive internship are no longer important," asserts Mikala. "What is important is — in the simplest way, my life."
And she has some advice for others, whether they are diagnosed with cancer or not.
"Put on some pink, smile, crack a joke and realize how precious your life really is."