COLUMBUS — The walls inside Imagine That Scrapbooking and Gifts are unapologetically pink.
Owner Audra Jedlicka, who lives near Schuyler, said the color was selected partly because of a marketing plan.
The other reason is even more important.
“I chose pink because I am still alive,” Jedlicka said.
In 2006, Jedlicka went to her annual check-up at the doctor's office. After a full exam, the doctor didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.
When he got to the door to exit the room, he turned back to look at Jedlicka and hesitated.
“He said he wanted me to come back for a mammogram in two weeks,” Jedlicka said. “He just wanted to make absolute sure I was OK. That split-second decision saved my life."
During the mammogram, a lump was discovered in her breast.
“It wasn’t a very big spot, but the cancer was aggressive,” Jedlicka said. “When they caught it I was in stage 2. I had no history of cancer in my family and I was in my 30s. It made no sense for me to get it at all.”
She didn’t waste any time after hearing the diagnosis. Rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment were administered.
“It was exactly as they all say,” Jedlicka said. “I was sicker than sick and all my hair fell out — and hair is just a big thing for us girls. It was just mortifying. The whole thing of it.
"Cancer is a bad word. That really is the best way to describe it. It runs rampant, it’s non-discriminative, and it doesn’t care who you are or what your age is.”
Jedlicka went through the normal mental stages of trauma.
“First there’s that, ‘Why me?'" she said. “Then comes being mad about it and the imminent anger. But then comes the fighter part. I knew I had to fight with every being of myself. I looked at my kids and I thought, I want to be part of their weddings. That’s when I went into battle.”
Five days a week for four weeks, Jedlicka made the trek to Norfolk for radiation.
“Those drives were exhausting,” she said. “On top of being sicker than sick and my hair falling out, there was also my sense of taste. Nothing tasted good to me. It was like I had metal in my mouth all the time. But with all that goes on with cancer and treating it, you just have to go through it.”
As a woman of God, she used her strong faith to guide her through the treatment process.
“I know that God has a plan for everybody,” Jedlicka said. “And if He wanted to take me at that time, that was just the hand I was going to be dealt. I didn’t want to disrespect that. Turns out He had other plans for me.”
Eleven years later, Jedlicka is still going to yearly exams. The fear of the cancer’s return still haunts her, but she also knows she has the strength to beat it.
Jedlicka said the support communities give to breast cancer survivors and patients is amazing. After all, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“It is a great cause to fund research and hope to find a cure,” she said. “But people need to remember each patient is always thinking of the death sentence they were given. People need to understand their fear. It’s the time when those patients need to figure out what they are going to do.”
Jedlicka learned what she wanted to do after her treatment was over.
“I have always loved to scrapbook,” she said. “So since God gave me more time, I opened this shop to make sure I’m doing something I love. The walls were painted pink to remind myself that I am still alive, that breast cancer did not win.”
Jedlicka said she lives every day a little differently now and is beyond grateful for each one.
“If there is anything I’d like to share, it is this,” Jedlicka said. “If you’re fighting cancer or anything else, please keep believing. You have to keep believing. If you don’t, then you are the first battle to fight.”