Control Your Story — Awareness is Power
By: Kristen Hernandez
When the appointment reminder popped up on Tina Guiler’s cellphone, she made a mental note to reschedule her planned yearly mammogram and ultrasound. As Lieutenant Firefighter Paramedic for Miami/Dade Fire Rescue, finding a free moment was a challenge. Tina slipped her phone into her pocket and a mental note to reschedule popped out of her mind as quickly as it popped in.
As a paramedic, she knew skipping three consecutive years of necessary preventative testing wasn’t smart. In 2020, Tina finally made both appointments. First, was the mammogram and to Tina’s relief, the results were negative. Then came the ultrasound, because having a mammogram alone doesn’t always catch tiny clandestine tumors. But something about the technician’s disposition wasn’t right. Tina remembered, “She didn’t seem to care.”
Instinctively, she had a second ultrasound. When the young, inexperienced-looking technician appeared, Tina cringed. Halfway through, the tech noticed Tina’s lymph nodes looked swollen, called a radiologist, and sent Tina for a biopsy. Life continued and Tina resumed what she did best, saving lives.
“My phone rang during a fire inspection on the 17th floor of a high-rise,” Tina recalled. “It was breast cancer in my lymph nodes, caught by that young girl who saved my life. The tumor was too small and deep for any MRI to detect. Lymph nodes must be monitored by ultrasound, not just a mammogram.”
According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 3 Americans will get cancer at least once in their lifetime. Being a cancer survivor is a badge of honor no one wants. I was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive bone cancer at 27 and like Tina Guiler, cancer doesn’t run in my family.
There’re steps you can take to protect yourself from, what shouldn’t be inevitable. In observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there’s free mammograms available. Visit FreeMammograms.org to locate a center in Pompano Beach near you. “If I hadn’t gotten scanned, they wouldn’t have found the tumor, and I’d be dead,” Tina said. “Women everywhere need to get tested yearly. Do not skip a year.”
Preventative scans are available at places like Inline Health and Wellness located at 2740 E. Oakland Park Blvd, Suite 101. With advances in technology, tools like Thermography and Pharmanex’s patented S3 scanner are essential additions to the prevention toolbox. The S3 scanner is available at Inline Health and Wellness for $20. It effectively measures antioxidant levels in your body. Using light at a precise wavelength and in under 60 seconds, learn if your current vitamins and supplements are actually working. Antioxidants fight free radical damage, which can leave you exposed to cancer. Think of a cut apple and the oxidation that occurs over time. That’s what healthy cells exposed to free radicals look like.
Supplements and vitamins are not regulated by the FDA and most adults absorb a meager 10–20%. Having the proper mix of these essential cancer fighters is necessary to your vitality. “Two things you can do right now to prevent breast cancer would be to first use a deodorant that does not have aluminum chloride in it, which has been linked to cancer cell formation,” said Dr. Keegan Roper, D.C., Chiropractor Physician at Inline Health and Wellness. “The second, is to have a diet and supplementation rich in antioxidants, which helps prevent oxidation damage to healthy cells.” Contact Inline Health and Wellness to speak with Dr. Roper and learn more. 954–491–4437.
Thermography is another innovative tool, when used alongside mammograms and ultrasounds, effectively “sees” hotspots or potential areas of concern within the body using noninvasive, infrared cameras. Contact locally based Choice Thermography to find out about getting scanned. “Healthy breast protocol is to have awareness and to use more than one modality,” said Nicole Austin, Clinical Thermographer. “We can “see” areas of inflammation and blood profusion over time, that in the breasts, could be signs that abnormal breast tissue is on the verge of developing.”
Local resident and patient of Choice Thermography, Chloe said, “Women and men everywhere need to get educated on the benefits of Thermography. Personally, it’s an invaluable tool since I find mammograms tend to be painful. It reveals things a doctor cannot.”
In addition to preventative measures, support groups like Gilda’s Club South Florida offers free, evidence-based programs such as healthy lifestyle workshops, social activities, educational lectures, and community resources. After former SNL comedian Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer, husband Gene Wilder founded Gilda’s Club using her vision of participation, education, hope, and friendship. “Cancer gave me membership in an elite club I’d rather not belong to,” Gilda once said.
The mixed feelings and lingering effects of Breast Cancer are life changing. Tina Guiler underwent chemo, radiation, plus a double mastectomy while working and saving lives as a Lieutenant Firefighter Paramedic and Fire Inspector, even under extreme conditions like working the devastation of the Surfside building collapse. She lives with neuropathy in both feet, memory issues, and acid reflux from all the medication.
Tina started a Facebook Group which led to a non-profit organization, Triple F Foundation, or Fierce Female Firefighters. “I’m so grateful to still be alive,” said Tina. “If I can help just one person wake up and get tested, then maybe my nightmare would be worth it.”
The Triple F Foundation supports public servants during hardship with peer support and financial assistance. Tina also guides young females to “Dream Big” because “If they can see it, they can be it”. She created Triple F Firefighter dolls, and all proceeds go directly to the Triple F Foundation. Ember and Molly, can be found at www.triplefrescue.com and Tina’s Foundation is www.tripleffoundation.org.
Breast cancer can be prevented. With technological advances available, there’s no time like right now to get tested. Find the supplementation program that’s right for you and take Tina Guiler’s advice. “Go to the doctor. I’m a paramedic, trust me, cancer can happen at any time, to anyone.”
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