Missy Gunnels – 2015 Ambassador
Missy teaches a few days a week at Sheridan Community Schools, where her ten-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, goes to school. She also has a son, Jon-Michael, who is a freshman in college. Missy’s husband, Mike, has played a tremendous role in her journey with breast cancer, and was by her side every step of the way.
At forty-five, Missy’s world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in-situ. Missy began her battle immediately after being diagnosed, receiving a biopsy later that day. Ultimately, Missy decided to undergo a double mastectomy with a tram flap using natural reconstruction. Missy knew this was the best option for her and her family, as she strived to “grow old and travel the world with my husband of 25 years and to one day be a grandmother of many little ones.” Missy was overwhelmed with support and the outpouring of love, prayers, meals, cards, visits and dozens of flowers bouquets.
Around the one month mark, Missy began to have some complications. Her umbilical area was dying and she underwent surgery to repair and remove the tissue. She was then placed on a wound pump and on March 17, Missy was rushed to the hospital when her wound pump alarm went off. After thirteen days in the hospital and four surgeries, Missy was released to go home. Today, life has returned back to normal for Missy and her family and they are stronger than ever. They now advocate to all of their friends the importance of early detection methods.
Missy’s takeaway message for others:
“I think the greater message is for everyone, regardless of their situation in life, to understand and realize how much they should cherish all of those that make this life such a joy to live – such as friends, colleagues and family.”
City: Westfield, Indiana
Date of diagnosis: 2013
Diagnosis: Ductal Carcinoma In-situ