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Air Force veteran battles breast cancer for second time

Posted at 6:15 PM, Oct 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-10 23:33:12-04

Kim Barnes is looking past her chemo to the end of her treatment, when she wins the war over her cancer. 

"Rather than viewing chemo as my enemy, I had to change my strategy and see chemo as my battle buddy," she said.

The Air Force veteran said it took her two bouts of breast cancer to see that. She was first diagnosed in 2011 as she was heading off to Afghanistan. 

"It was during the checkup for deployment that we found that I had breast cancer in my right breast," Barnes said.

After a lumpectomy and radiation, nearly three years to the date, her breast cancer was back. It was aggressive just like the first time, but in her left breast. 

"I could feel it this time, last time we didn't even know it was there," she said. "I thought i could take it on.  I'm a trooper I survived it before with the help of God.  I felt I done it before and I could do this again with his help."

With her same medical team at the MedStar Health Cancer Center in Bel Air, her Oocologist Dr. Shweta Kurian this warrior readied her mind, body and spirit. 

"It's really important when you're going through chemo to get rid of any negativity. You really don't want to approach chemo at all with any dark negative thought or mistrustful thoughts. Everything in you says I feel awful. I don't even feel like myself. I want to let go, don't. Fight. You can do this. When I felt like I couldn't go on, I'd get up and walk, to the mailbox, to the end of the driveway. Fight, that's my message," Barnes said.

Dr. Shweta Kurian says that's exactly where you want your mind to be.

"It's about the strength of your mind," she said. "Where you have seen different circumstances,and you have seen that you have come out victorious that has helped her say yes, it's a problem, I have to deal with this and I will be able to deal with it and come out victorious."

After her chemo Barnes will get a double mastectomy, radiation and be done with cancer. 

"My color is coming back, awesome it should get better," she said.

For others headed to war with cancer she warns early detection is like an early warning. 

"Cancer is not gonna go away because you are afraid," Barnes said. "You have to stand up and you have to face it and fight it."