AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – During one of her regular self-examinations last year, Caroline Ashe felt something not-quite-right.
“I really thought that it was going to be nothing serious. I did not let myself go there, that it could be breast cancer,” she said.
But, after numerous tests and biopsies, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer on September 16th, 2022.
“I had an appointment with Dr. Yeh at Piedmont, and she is the one who actually gave me my diagnosis,” she said. “She was very forthcoming. She said there’s really no way to sugar-coat it, and you have breast cancer. But in the next breath, she said ‘you’re not gonna die from this.’”
After the initial shock wore off, Ashe had a realization.
“I thought, okay, there have been so many women that have really paved this path, and there’s so many great doctors here in our area,” she said. “And so I just really said ‘okay, what’s the next step?’”
The next steps were a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments.
These took a toll on her body, but she had some outlets: her job and competitive ballroom dancing.
“Those two things… I just immediately was like, ‘I don’t wanna give them up,'” she said.
So, she didn’t.
“I’m very proud to to say that I worked through the whole thing, I was able to have the support of my team, the support of the company I work for and be able to continue to do that,” Ashe said. “And then I’m proud to say I danced through the entire thing, and that helped me immensely just from a mental area.”
She also had support from family and friends… and social media followers.
“I got online and just did a video that was like, ‘hey ladies, there’s a very very high percentage of us that have dense breast tissue, so if no one’s ever said anything, ask your doctor,’” she said.
The message reached dozens of people, and she decided to document her whole journey.
“Some of it was really raw, there were days where yes, I’m crying on camera,” she said. “But, I feel like that’s just the realness of it.”
Ashe has been cancer-free since July, but wants to continue to use her platform to spread awareness.
“I have countless messages, text messages, Facebook messages, from people that were just saying ‘thank you, I would have never known that, I just scheduled the first mammogram I’ve had in five years,'” she said. “Because it was just one of those little shocking moments in life that, you’re living a good life, you’ve very healthy, you’re active and then, you just kind of get like, no… this could happen to you, too.”