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Susquehanna employee: ‘This very likely saved my life.’

breast cancer blogIn October, I wrote about the importance of getting an annual mammogram and performing breast self-exams.

About a month after my blog entry ran, I received an email from a colleague I had never met.

Her email stated, “Toward the end of October, I hit my 90 days of employment, meaning I needed to get the health care requirements taken care of ,” (to be eligible for a discount on our company-sponsored health insurance.) ”I hadn’t planned on adding another exam, but your article motivated me to go ahead and get it (a mammogram) done.”

“For that I owe you a huge debt of gratitude. Left to my own devices, I would have put it off another year. You see, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  At my appointment, I was told that only 1 in 50 are caught in the earliest of early stages. Between the benefits policy and your article, I truly believe that this very likely saved my life.”

To say I was flabbergasted when I received this email is an understatement.  I needed to meet Christine.

I immediately replied and we set up a lunch date.

At lunch the following week, Christine told me that although she had cancer cells in one of her breasts, she had made the decision to have a double mastectomy. Surgery was scheduled for early January.

I believe serendipity brought us together.

She was having her care delivered by a health system where I had previously been employed for 16 years. I knew many of the individuals whose paths she would cross and I was able to connect her with a former colleague who had endured the same surgery. As soon as I met Christine I knew immediately that their personalities would mesh.

Christine’s attitude was feisty — to say the least — upbeat and positive. Cancer was not going to get in her way of living!

Five days after her operation, I received another email from Christine – “from all accounts everything went very well and I am exceeding expectations on healing, range of motion. It’s all in the mindset, I guess.” (Knowing her positive outlook going in, I expected no less from her, but was nonetheless thrilled to hear her say it!) And yes, her parting words were, “can’t wait to get back!”

Fast forward several weeks, and lo-and-behold, I get an email from Christine. She’s baaaccck!! Did I want to do lunch? Are you kidding? I couldn’t wait to see Christine and hear about her journey.

In the two months since I had seen Christine, she looked great and she hadn’t lost an ounce of that feistiness, “it was all about the mindset.” she said.  “I knew I was going to beat it.”

She came through surgery with flying colors, and through the course of her illness this self-described hermit has re-engaged with life and re-connected with old friends. Because her cancer cells had not spread, Christine doesn’t need radiation, chemotherapy, or medication.

Christine’s cancer was detected in the very early stages, thanks to a mammogram.  Don’t let fear be your enemy on this – grab the phone today, make the call and schedule your annual mammogram – it could save your life.

Christine is living proof!

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