Breast cancer survivor shares her story in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

"Your world can change in a day. Mine changed in a day. You know, one day I was cancer-free and the next day, I had cancer," said cancer survivor Erika Bunger.

Posted: Oct 8, 2019 5:57 PM
Updated: Oct 8, 2019 6:24 PM

WHITE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Breast cancer is a journey no woman wants to take but hundreds of thousands go through each year.

Cancer survivor Erika Bunger shared her story of discovery to recovery with News 18. Bunger said it's important to know your body to be able to spot when something isn't right.

Bunger found signs of her own breast cancer last November after getting out of the shower one day.

“I was getting out of the shower and I saw kind of a red circle on my right breast, which didn't look right,” said Bunger. “As I felt it, it was a pretty decent sized lump that was not there, really, I didn't feel it the month before.”

She went through ultrasounds and mammograms and was originally diagnosed with Mastitis, which is a breast tissue infection. But Bunger knew something still wasn't right.

“It just wasn't clearing up and I knew something wasn't right so I pushed further, ended up with a biopsy and it came back as breast cancer,” said Bunger.

Bunger was diagnosed with HER2-positive, hormone-negative breast cancer. Despite having an idea, it still wasn't something she was prepared to hear.

“I have two small children so it was very emotional and just terrifying really but everything was happening so fast, I felt like God was in control,” said Bunger.

Bunger worked as a nurse in the NICU at IU Health Arnett before her diagnosis. But it was still a pleasant surprise seeing how hard the doctors and nurses worked to get her treated.

“She had my MRI set up, she had my surgery appointments set up for here in Monticello, my appointment with Dr. Jones was set up, my pet scan, so I just felt like everything was going to be okay,” said Bunger.

And it is. After six rounds of chemo at IU Health White Memorial Hospital, a surgery to remove the tumor and the lymph nodes in her right arm and six weeks of radiation at IU Health Arnett, Bunger has been cancer free since April.

“It's still that fear of, what if it comes back, what if I have to do this again, and I have to just keep telling myself, it's out of my hands, I've done what I can do. This is in God's hands,” said Bunger. “And you just got to live your life and honestly that goes for people who have cancer and people who don't have cancer.”

Bunger has gone back to work this week and said she's excited to get back to her life of being a nurse, mom, and wife.

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