Ever since she lost her 4-year-old sister due to a heart condition, Dr. Michelle Craig says she wanted to help others through medicine.
Her profession may have also saved her own life.
She saw a lump and it felt hard as a marble. Two mammograms and a sonogram showed nothing. Craig says she pushed for a biopsy. It was cancer.
She first thought about her family and her mother.
"I was terrified that I was going be leaving them, I'm sorry. That's what I think about,” she says.
Craig endured six months of chemotherapy instead of three because her lump was so large.
Then she had seven weeks of radiation followed by a mastectomy of her left breast.
"Eleven years later I am,” she says. “I'm here for my patients, I'm here for my friends, I'm here for my cousins, my mom, I'm here."
Just blocks from where she grew up in Anacostia, Craig is now a primary care physician at Family Medical and Counseling Services in Southeast D.C. It’s a community health clinic for patients with HIV and AIDS.
"I want people to know that they should check themselves,” she says. “I’ve been practicing for 25, 26 years and the majority of my patients find the lumps themselves."