Breast Cancer Survivor Navigates Others Through Treatment - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Breast Cancer Survivor Navigates Others Through Treatment

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MISSOULA -

In this breast cancer awareness month, there are countless stories of survival to tell, but few are like the story of one breast cancer survivor who made it her mission to help other women who are going through the same thing.

When ABC FOX MONTANA's Sarah Gravlee set out to tell this story, it was supposed to be about Christie Fellows, a 38-year-old breast cancer survivor who celebrated the first anniversary of her diagnosis just days ago. But, it quickly became clear it's a story about her nurse.

"I'm an RN and my job title is called the Breast Health Navigator," said Michelle Weaver Knowles. "I always say the guys want my job title."

Christie credits Michelle with saving her life. Christie had stage three breast cancer. It was in her lymph and in her sternum. Michelle made a call that got her in to see a doctor months before she was scheduled to.

"I would be dead (without Michelle)," Christie said. "I know I would."

"I lost my sister to breast cancer," Michelle said. "She was 30 and died when she was 33. As the older sister, I have a little guilt about that. Why couldn't I protect her? I'm the older sister, why did she die from this disease and I didn't? So, to help with my own demons about that I use it in a positive way and help with 'my ladies.' I don't like to call them my patients because they're more than that to me."

And Michelle is more than a nurse to her "ladies." As the nurse navigator, she guides patients from diagnosis through treatment and often speaks up on their behalf. Throughout the process, many of her "ladies" become close friends.

"She looked at my blood work and knew instantly that I was a rare case, that I had a lot of things going against me and she saved my life," Christie said. "She looked at it all and she knew. She just knew."

Michelle says she was just doing her job. She and Christie have something else in common. They are both BRCA positive. It's a genetic mutation that makes your odds of having cancer much higher.

Wednesday night on the FOX MONTANA NEWS @ NINE we'll take a look at this mutation and a simple test you can take to determine if you are at risk.

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