Always remember to be grateful in your life for what you have

Patrice, Patient

Patrice at the 5K Strides Walk

In 2016, I went to the Bronson Center for Women for a second mammogram. Afterwards, I was notified that I needed to have a breast biopsy. I ended up having it in the office with Dr. Christina Jacobs, the radiologist. I left the office and went downstairs to the lab. I received a phone call asking me to come back upstairs. I was quite happy knowing I didn’t have cancer. Well, that was short lived! After looking at Dr. Jacobs face, I knew I had cancer. That would be confirmed when my mom and I met with Dr. Jacobs, and Jennifer, a breast health nurse navigator. Dr. Jacobs told me that I likely had breast cancer. At that point, I was overwhelmed. My mom and Jennifer tried to comfort me. After they had calmed me down, we called my Dad and actually heard more of what was being said. It was at that point that Jennifer talked with empathy and compassion to me and my mom about how she could help me through my breast cancer journey. A few days later, it was confirmed that I did have breast cancer.

I was really nervous about what was happening to me, especially since I’d only recently began recovering from another illness that wreaked havoc on my body. I struggled to walk without a cane or a walker. Getting around independently was difficult. I went through several rounds of physical therapy.

Now, I have cancer and have to have a surgical biopsy. Truly, I thought it was going to be like the other 2 with some slight differences. However, it was much more. I remember hearing a vacuum. All went well and no more cancer was found.

Now, I began the second leg of the journey with surgery performed by breast surgeon, Dr. Nancy Kalinowski in October 2016. Because of the type of cancer I had another surgery was needed. I had that surgery about a month later. Late December, I started 20 rounds of radiation at West Michigan Cancer Center (WMCC). The staff at WMCC is the best. Everyone is kind, helpful and thoughtful. That was and still is my experience. Often when I would go to the Bronson Center for Women (BCW), I would be able to see Jennifer. Sometimes she’d see my name on the schedule and would be near the front when I arrived. Jennifer was able to answer questions and calm my nerves about various things. Now, I call her my friend!! There are so many people at BCW who are caring and professional. I was blessed to have many of them working on my case! Kudos to all of you!!

As I stated before, walking was a problem. But now, I am walking so much better! So much so, that I was able to walk some of the 5K Strides 2018 walk, and at the 2019 walk. I did have to use my walker both times. I was able to walk farther and was accompanied by Jennifer and Dr. Kalinowski!

I gained so much from this experience – grace, humility, humbleness and gratitude. I had to rely on people in ways I never in my life thought I would. I am so appreciative for my parents, my son, Jennifer, and a host of others. It’s now time for me to start spreading this kindness to others.

Always remember to be grateful in your life for what you have. As it can be interrupted at anytime without warning.