Davidson County, N.C. - The media is talking about Angelina Jolie's decision to have a double mastectomy, but a Triad woman made the same choice about five years ago.
Jami Barbee grew up fearing cancer. The disease killed her great grandmother, her grandmother and her mother. So, when she learned she carried the cancer gene, she hugged her three children and her husband and fought back against cancer.
Barbee had a double-mastectomy and a hysterectomy.
"It never once crossed my mind about whether it was even an option," Barbee said. "It wasn't a question of if I'll get cancer. It was when. Growing up, that was always in the back of my mind."
Barbee admits, signing up for a hysterectomy and a mastectomy, when you don't have cancer, takes a lot of soul searching.
"You take a perfectly fine body that's not sick and you cut it and you alter it and at some points you feel like Frankenstein because you're cut from one side of your body to the other," Barbee said.
It took six to eight months to recover from the surgeries. Adjusting to her new body was not easy.
"I cried a lot. I'm not a crier. But, I cried a lot," Barbee said.
However, she has never regretted her decision.
"I have to do everything in my power so my kids don't see me get sick. That's the hardest thing to do... watch my mom get sick and pass away...This is who I am. It's made me stronger. It's made my family stronger."
Barbee wants her two daughters to get tested for the gene when they grow up. This weekend, the Barbee family will walk together in a Relay for Life event.