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Kathleen M It Takes A Village

Just as it has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to bring a patient from diagnosis through treatment, into recovery, and on to a long, healthy life.

Who knew when I went for my annual gynecological/mammography appointment in May 2016 that I would begin a journey that many before me and, many after me, would embark upon? I am someone who never misses an annual exam of any kind. It was surprising to me to be diagnosed with Stage 2A, triple negative breast cancer and I was even more surprised to learn I was BRCA 1 positive.

Between July 2016 and March 2017, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy, six rounds of chemotherapy, a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and breast reconstruction. Later in 2017, I had nipple reconstruction and tattooing. Through all of that, I never felt overwhelmed about the next test or appointment, it was all taken care of for me.

My experiences with each of my physicians, every staff member, RWJ University Hospital Somerset and the resources of the Steeplechase Cancer Center were all phenomenal. Everyone was expert, professional, caring, and positive. I never once thought I would not survive and I never once felt alone. They supported and encouraged me, and still do.

Today, through the efforts of everyone at the Steeplechase Cancer Center I am living a healthy life. I have recently retired and I am enjoying the new adventures that retirement brings along with my husband and family.

As I reflect on my journey from diagnosis through treatment, I believe I did so well overall, certainly because of the excellent care I received from the doctors, nurses, and staff at Steeplechase, but also because I am diligent about going for my annual exams. It is critical for women, in particular, to be proactive about their health. It is definitely true that early detection saves lives. I always believed I would make it through this blip on the radar and go on to live a long, healthy life and I am glad I have an excellent medical team at my side.

Kathleen M – Hillsborough, NJ

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