As an investigative reporter, my career is solving problems. I stand up for anyone who needs a little extra help. When I found a lump in my breast, I got a mammogram and an ultrasound. When I heard 'invasive breast cancer,' and 'chemotherapy,' I gave the phone to my husband. I walked out into my garage because I didn't want my 5-year-old to hear me sobbing.
A body scan showed the cancer had not spread, but there were two small spots in the same breast. I had a double mastectomy followed by reconstruction and three months of chemotherapy. The nurse navigator, Martha McInnes, took my hand and walked me through the process. I came in for one appointment and saw my oncologist, breast surgeon, plastic surgeon and radiation oncologist. The integration took stress off my mind.
My doctors helped my husband with his questions, and gave us helpful tools to explain the situation to our young boys. Surgery went well. When chemo made my hair fall out, I asked my hairstylist to shave my head. Several of my KATU co-workers shaved their heads in solidarity.
Finally, I had radiation therapy to fight the risk of cancer recurring. Five days a week for six and a half weeks I got my kids ready for school, went to OHSU for radiation and went to work in the newsroom. Knowing I had my family and a team of experts behind me, I kept fighting. I always felt like the treatment options were for me and just me. I had enough information to make good decisions, and my treatment factored in my goals and personality.