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Examiner
  • Survivor stories: Seeing cancer from both sides

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  • Nancy trained at Independence Regional Medical Center and took some time off to raise her children. She went back to work at MCI 11 years ago and has been at Centerpoint since opening in 2007.
    In 1981 Nancy was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – cancer of the lymphatic system. “It was scary my children were 2 and 5. I never felt like I was given a death sentence. I knew I would go through the steps to cure myself of the cancer. When going through something like this you have good days and bad days and you capitalize on the good days,” said Nancy.
    The Hodgkin’s treatment took a year and a half, then she was given the all-clear. During a normal breast exam by her doctor in 1997 at a yearly physical, a lump was found in her right breast. They followed up with a biopsy that day. She was soon notified that she had breast cancer in her right breast.
    What was your first thought when you heard this news?
    “I was cured of empty nest syndrome! My son was getting ready to leave for college,” said Nancy.
    Nancy had been given the maximum dose of radiation for Hodgkin’s in 1981. She and her physician Dr. Larry Rosen, decided to treat the cancer with four months of chemo therapy, a mastectomy of the right breast and reconstruction surgery.
    In 2011 Nancy was faced with yet another diagnosis of breast cancer; this time, in her left breast. She faced one year of chemo therapy, a mastectomy of the left breast and reconstruction surgery.
    “You become that rock for everyone. My key support comes from my children, my sisters and my faith. A lot of my attitude is because of my faith and the strength I draw from that. I don’t dwell a lot on the past and I don’t worry too much about what’s ahead. I live each day to the fullest,” said Nancy.
    Because early detection is key, Nancy’s daughter and niece have already had their baseline mammograms because it has now become a family history with other female family members fighting the disease.
    After battling cancer for 31 years Nancy feels she has had a unique vantage point on the advancements in cancer treatment. “I applaud those doing genetic testing and genetic counseling as it relates to cancer. They are doing some fascinating things on tumors and targeting DNA for specific tumors. There is so much more coming down the line, don’t ever give up on treatment because you never know what the next big breakthrough will be. Never give up! I never felt like I didn’t have a chance,” said Nancy.
    Page 2 of 2 - She stressed that Cancer is becoming more complicated, each case is different. She believes you have to be your number one advocate. Nancy and Dr. Rosen have spent 31 years fighting her cancer together. She feels as if they have grown up together. “Research and talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Dr. Rosen will not “what if” with you. He moves from one point to the next. He always tells me, ‘do not worry about tomorrow, each day has enough trouble of its own. Go with what you know, not with what you don’t know’,” she said.
    Today considered a survivor, everything is going well. She has three grandkids and is enjoying life to its fullest.
    “As a CT technician, I have the opportunity to help those coming through with cancer see that you can survive this. It’s a journey, it’s not all negative, a lot of positive can come out of this,” Nancy said.
    – Submitted by Centerpoint Medical Center
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