I live in Stanford, Montana but I was raised in Fort Benton, Montana. In 2011, at the age of 42, I was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. My surgeon gave me the option of either having a lumpectomy or mastectomy. I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. When my surgeon gave me this diagnosis I knew it was either fight or flight. In my heart, I knew I was going to be alright, and I was more worried about my spouse. I was fortunate to have a large group of very supportive people. My whole family, as well as my coworkers, right down to the guys at my work shaving their heads so I didn’t feel alone.
Due to the type of breast cancer I was diagnosed with and my age, it was recommended by my Oncologist, Dr. Guter, to have eight rounds of chemotherapy. So every two weeks from December to February I would have chemotherapy at the Great Falls Clinic Infusion Center, which would last approximately 4-5 hours each time. I was very, very lucky because I never got sick from chemotherapy, I only felt tired, except during the initial treatment. The Infusion nurses were right on top of it, always following up the next day and offering any suggestions that would help me.
While I was having treatments and driving to and from my treatment, the weather was in my favor and we had a mild winter. It made the 65 mile drive to Great Falls for treatment better as we had one less thing to worry about. If the winter would have been a good old-fashioned Montana winter, I would have been staying in Great Falls at either my sister or mother’s house as the Legacy Foundation wasn’t created yet.
Here is it is 2021, ten years since my initial diagnosis, and I believe I get to graduate from seeing my oncologist every six months to once a year, if not longer. My doctor has kept a pretty close eye on me! Regarding my cancer “team” during this journey they were great, and I am forever grateful! October will be ten years since I was diagnosed and I cannot believe how advanced medical technology has come! If the Legacy Foundation’s facility had been available to me to use during my treatment, I absolutely would have used it. It would have been very convenient, especially with just having to cross the road to receive treatment.