COVINGTON, Ga. - Nataliya Metcalf, a surgical nurse at Piedmont Newton Hospital, was on vacation when she first noticed something wasn’t quite right.
“I felt a burning sensation up under my right breast and I was felt it and I felt a little lump,” Metcalf said. “Being a nurse, I was like okay, so that needs to be checked out.”
When she returned from vacation she went straight to the doctor for a mammogram and ultrasound. She was then asked to do a biopsy.
“Biopsy, that involves needles, and I’m a nurse so I’m the worst of the patients,” she said.
Results were expected within 48 hours, but Metcalf couldn’t wait.
“I was at work and I saw my report,” she said. “I read it and that was pretty much when I said okay, I’m going to have to fight this.”
Metcalf prepared herself for a double-mastectomy.
“I pretty much opted myself for a double-mastectomy because I have a very good realization of at 40 my body could fight treatment better than if it comes back at 70,” she said. “So I scheduled an appointment and we coordinated the evil plan.”
One day before Halloween in 2015, she went in for surgery at Piedmont Newton Hospital.
Metcalf was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. She said it was ductal carcinoma and aggressive.
“Honestly, I felt the little lump maybe like back in February and it was like a little not and I was like, oh whatever, but by June what I felt was kind of pro-longed, almost like a bean that was long and lumpy,” she said. “It’s so funny, your subconscious kind of tells you what it is, too because I knew right away. I knew that can’t be good.”
After recovering from her double-mastectomy, Metcalf started chemotherapy Dec. 7, 2015 and completed a six-week treatment.
“On Dec. 24 I stood over a trashcan and shook my hair in it,” she said. “Basically it all came out, like one big lump.
“I’m not really a shallow person and I experimented with my hair more than I should have, so I wasn’t really worried about it, but I felt naked in a sense.
Metcalf encourages women to pay attention.
“A lot of people have the attitude of ‘It’s not going to happen to me,’” she said. “I kind of had that attitude until it was happening.”