I am very thankful for every day I have
For more than 20 years, I had always been diligent about getting my annual mammogram and, fortunately, always had good results. But after I had my mammogram in February 2017, I received a callback indicating they found a lump and I needed to go back for a recheck. I went to the Bronson Center for Women and had a biopsy of my right breast and lymph nodes.
The Bronson Center for Women assigned Jennifer, a breast health nurse navigator, to my care team and I learned she would give me the biopsy diagnosis and help answer my questions. When I first met Jennifer, I was a little shocked that she could give me the diagnosis and any help that I may need. Boy, was that pretty presumptuous on my part! After talking with Jennifer, I found her to be so personable, always encouraging and felt that she was always there for me. Jennifer then explained the biopsy test results – the test came back as malignant. I had breast cancer and needed surgery.
Jennifer reviewed a list of breast surgeons who could perform surgery to remove the cancer. I chose Dr. Nancy Kalinowski, with Bronson Breast Surgery. In May 2017, I had surgery at Bronson Methodist Hospital. Afterwards, it was so comforting to have Jennifer there to answer my questions. If Jennifer didn’t know the answer, she would find it. This was really important to me. Jennifer was really helpful with my breast cancer journey.
The next steps in my journey were having chemo and radiation at the West Michigan Cancer Center (WMCC). All I can say is those people at WMCC are angels. The radiation staff that took care of me were the same ages as my own kids and were my friends for 30 days. I would bake cookies every seven days for my friends, who said they really liked my cookies. When I went to my last radiation treatment, I cried. These people were so important to me and really helped me through a difficult time.
For my last treatment, they tried to put me on hormone inhibitors, but I stopped because it became so painful. I’m choosing quality over quantity. There’s a 50 percent chance of my cancer coming back. I’m just thankful for every day that I have.
More information about Lori’s journey is included in her book “Walking the Ridges – One Woman’s Journey through Breast Cancer” which is available at amazon.com.