Breast Cancer 2 Bikini: Jamie DeBates - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Breast Cancer 2 Bikini: Jamie DeBates

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"To see how great she is now, it blows my mind sometimes." Spending time with their mom is a precious thing for Kalynn and Alexis DeBates. At their young ages, they realize how precious their time is together. Four years ago, life was very different for the DeBates family. "I just thought my Mom's going to die. You don't think there's going to be an end to it,” expresses Kalynn with tears in her eyes.

At 39 years old, before mammograms and regular self-exams, Jamie found a lump in her breast. "I really think an angel came down and pinched me. I was sitting at a stop light and I thought the under wire of my bra was pinching me. So I went to move it right here and I felt the lump." Doctor diagnosed her with aggressive, triple-negative breast cancer. "I was terrified. I think the hardest thing I did was tell my kids."

Through the pain, Jamie's family rallied to fight the battle together. She needed them. Despite her contagious smiles, Jamie had a rough go of treatment; once her port was put in, she says she experienced complication after complication. "Kalynn really stepped up and took care of her sister. [She] took her to school and really took care of a lot of things around here. She had to grow up really fast." Kalynn remembers those days vividly, but added, "You don't think anything of it at the time because you're doing what you have to do." Both the girls, along with Jamie’s husband, mother and best friend, lifted her spirits during six-months of chemotherapy. She also opted for a bilateral mastectomy because her cancer was aggressive. Jamie opted to have her latissimus dorsi muscle pulled over as part of her reconstruction. Her family was by her side through it all.

Now they are celebrating a new goal! Jamie works out with other cancer survivors at Evoke Fitness in Reno. "It's a way for us to take back control of our bodies after we've gone through treatment and surgeries and chemo." They're training for the Nevada State Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini Championships in June. The time commitment, intense workouts and food preparation can be challenging, but Jamie says it’s rewarding. She hopes to provide hope for other families going through cancer treatment that life can move on. On this new journey, her family will continue to be by her side, but just maybe not on stage. "I thought about doing one with her, but it's a lot of work!” Kalynn laughs.

If you or your family is going through cancer treatment, here are some tips to help loved ones cope:

-Ask doctors questions if you accompany your loved one to an appointment.

-Be prepared for mood changes (medications, pain, and stress can cause someone with cancer to become depressed or angry).

-Encourage your loved one to be active.

-Take care of yourself, too. It is hard to help a loved one when you are exhausted. Doctors encourage you to exercise, rest and eat well-balanced meals.

-Don't hesitate to ask other family members and friends for help.

-Be positive, not just for yourself, but for your loved one.

-Consider joining a support group. It may help to recognize that you are not alone.

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