CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A Clay County sheriff’s deputy shared her journey as she fights stage 3 breast cancer with a positive attitude and a smile on her face.
Deputy Cortney Altstatt got the diagnosis about seven months ago after she found a lump during a self-breast exam. The 27-year-old said it came out of nowhere.
"It was like two days before that, there was nothing there. Then, the next day or two, all of a sudden, it just popped up," Altstatt told News4Jax on Thursday. "So, it was a scary thing."
Over the last several months, Altstatt underwent chemotherapy treatments. She had a double mastectomy surgery about a month ago and is still recovering. Doctors were originally planning on removing two to four lymph nodes after the cancer had spread, but ended up removing more than 20. The surgery was a success.
"They are saying everything looks good, I am healing really well. They are pretty impressed,” Altstatt said.
She plans to head back to work as a detention deputy this weekend.
The next step against cancer is radiation therapy. That treatment will begin next week and continue Monday through Friday for about six weeks.
And, for the first time in a long time, Altstatt is happy to have her hair growing back.
“I would say about a week ago was when it really started growing. My husband actually has shaved it recently and it’s growing this fast,” Altstatt said. "I’m happy to have it."
The sheriff’s deputy hopes her story will help raise awareness and bring support to others going through a similar situation.
“For anybody that is going through this: Be positive. You know, if anybody wants to reach out to me, that is in the dumps or has had a family member go through this or they’re going through it themselves, don’t hesitate to come to me and ask any questions or have support," Altstatt said. "I don’t mind talking to you."
A GoFundMe page has been set up for anyone wishing to help the Altstatt family.