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Maimah Karmo‘s story of beating Cancer is spreading throughout the web. Most recently, TODAY featured her story on survival, read it here:

My mom is a nurse and she taught me at 13 the importance of knowing my body. She sat me down and said, “You’re getting breasts. Let me show you how to check them so if something happens when you’re older, you know what to look for. If you find out early, you’ll be fine.”

She kept reinforcing that to the point where it became a habit for me. I would do my breast self-examination every month in the shower. I did that religiously for 18 years and then at 31 years old, I felt a lump in my breast. I knew right away that it did not belong there.

There’s no history of cancer in my family, so I didn’t think it could be cancer. I got a mammogram and it came back clean. They said, you have a cyst, it’s not cancer. I insisted on a biopsy, but I was told to come back in six months to a year. So I waited.

I finally had a biopsy. The next day was Feb. 28, 2006, and the doctor called me at 4:45 p.m. to tell me that I had breast cancer. It was aggressive and it was triple negative breast cancer. It was so surreal. I just thought: This is it, I’m done.

My daughter was 3 and I just was in sheer panic. My whole life revolves around her, I’m a single mom. My first thought was: How can I leave her without a mom?

In my office, there are pictures of Noelle everywhere. She’s my world. I kept looking at the pictures and thinking: She’ll never get to know me as a woman; I’m never going to have those moments with her that teach her how to live, how to love. She won’t know how much I love her.

The most gripping fear I had wasn’t about my life, it was about “I can’t leave her.”

I was in shock so I had to figure out what to say to her. Everyone said, you can’t tell her about this, she’s too young to understand. But to me, that’s not respecting my child as a human being.

Find her five tips on how to talk to your child about breast cancer here.

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