SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Jill Chatterson, a pediatric traveling nurse, is celebrating victory after a life loss and a life extended.

“I had put off my mammogram. I had a fiance that was sick, and I was concentrating on him. And I put my mammogram off,” she said. 

“My fiance died of heart failure and these were supposed to be my wedding shoes.” 

Now, Jill wears her sneakers as a symbol of hope.

“Because they’re pink, I thought ‘I’m gonna use these for breast cancer.’”

Jill found her own lump in 2022. She got to Telfair Breast Surgery at Candler Hospital fast. That’s when her mammogram revealed she had stage 2 breast cancer.

“Dr. Ronaghan got me in on Monday. So I only had to wait a few days, and then I ended up having a bilateral mastectomy on April 6,” she said. “So everything kind of fell right into place and went very nicely.”

Now, a year after defeating breast cancer, she’s having a CAT scan of her abdomen at Coastal Imaging. Plastic surgeon Dr. Joe Campbell wants to make sure she’s a candidate for a surgical technique that is used to help rebuild the breast following a mastectomy.

“He will remove fat from the abdomen which is transplanted in the chest along with blood vessels to create a new breast,” Jill explained. 

It’s a big decision for a woman ready to feel normal again.

“Right now, I feel kind of like I’m a little broken, and I feel like he’s going to help,” Jill said. “I’m gonna have that look back. And they also can tattoo nipples on these days.”

So listen to Jill… check your breasts. You could find your own lump and save your own life.

“Do you have any regrets in terms of not having your mammogram on schedule?” WSAV News 3 asked.

“I do,” Jill replied. “That’s why I’m hoping… I wanted to talk to you too because I’m hoping people will realize the importance of that.  

“Don’t put it off until tomorrow because I probably could have saved myself probably a lot of hardship and pain, discomfort if I just would have caught it sooner.”   

Jill is waiting for her CAT scan results and she says her reconstructive surgery on both breasts is scheduled for March 1.

WSAV News 3 is On Your Side with Buddy Check 3 every third of the month to remind you and your buddies to complete your breast self-exams.

Click or tap here to learn more about the program.

If you have any questions or concerns about breast health, call the SJ/C Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion at 912-819-7053.