RICHMOND, Va. -- Tabatha Smith sparkles from head to toe.
“I love sparkles," Smith said. “They shine. I feel like I shine."
It's taken a while for Smith to feel that way.
“I was 24. The worst year ever,” Smith said about the year 2016. “I woke up one day and something hit me and I just got in the shower and I did a breast check."
Smith said it was some kind of spirit talking to her to do a breast self-exam for the very first time.
She felt something small in her left breast and got it checked out.
“He told me Miss Smith you're fine. You just have dense breasts. At 24, I'm like 'okay.' He's a doctor. He knows what he's talking about. So, I left,” Smith said.
But that same spirit hit her again.
“Something was talking to me. You have to go back because something's not right,” Smith said.
This time, Smith pushed for a biopsy.
“I said I’m not going to leave until I get what I want,” Smith said.
Smith got her biopsy appointment and got the news she dreaded.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I felt like he gave me a death sentence,” Smith said.
Her world was crushed.
“I was depressed. I stopped eating for weeks. I didn't want to get up. I just knew I was about to die. But I had people in my corner that were cheering me on. C'mon Tab, you have to get up. You have to keep pushing,” Smith said.
Smith was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer.
Now at Massey and with a new doctor, Smith had surgery to remove the tumor. She also had chemotherapy which was the toughest part, she said, from the side effects to losing her hair.
“As a woman, what am I going to do without my hair,” Smith said. “I said you know what God, I'm going to trust the process and I know when it's over you're going to make me a new woman and He did and I'm so thankful."
Six years later, Smith is 31 years old and wants to share her story to remind other women to do their breast self-exams no matter their age and to listen to their gut.
“Honestly, if I didn't listen to it I know I wouldn't be here today. I know I wouldn't,” Smith said.
The good news is Smith is cancer free. CBS 6 profiled Tabatha’s family in 2017. Her mother, grandmother, and aunt battled breast cancer. Tabatha who has a twin sister tested negative for the breast cancer gene.
Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email email@example.com to send a tip.
EAT IT, VIRGINIA restaurant news and interviews