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Finding her grace after an unexpected diagnosis

Michelle Slade“My world stopped. I was sitting in a chair, but I felt like I was on my knees.”

Michelle Slade recalls the moment she learned she had stage II breast cancer in December 2007. She was just 33 years old, married to her childhood sweetheart, and the young mother of a 2 year-old son. It seemed unbelievable.

“I remember thinking, ‘I’m not sure how I’m going to find my grace in this,’” says Michelle.

For some time she had experienced hot flashes across her breasts, dry, itchy skin, and little bumps under her armpit. When she talked with her doctor in Texas in 2005, he brushed her concerns away saying she was “too young” to worry about breast cancer. After moving back to California, Michelle sought a second opinion from local obstetrician and gynecologist, Richard Alexander.

“Dr. Alexander listened to what I had to say and referred me to the Carol Hatton Breast Care Center (CHBCC) immediately,” she recalls.

Michelle underwent a mastectomy, breast reconstruction, and the removal of both ovaries. She endured four rounds of chemotherapy and an oral regimen of tamoxifen.

“The CHBCC was an incredible blessing. I was not simply treated there, I was cared for,” she says.

Nearly 10 years have passed since Michelle’s diagnosis and it’s clear she found the grace she was looking for. Her spirit is strong and her  of gratitude runs deep.

“Because of the wonderful care I received at the CHBCC—and all those who support it—I am alive,” she says. “I am able to mother my son, and I will have the chance to dance with him at his wedding one day.”

Learn how you can give to make a difference, at or call Montage Health Foundation at (831) 658-3630.

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