Family, friends, the ranch and hard work are integrated with faith in the life of Roxanne from Forbes, ND. After undergoing treatment for breast cancer in the last few years, she said “If telling my story can help just one person, just one, it is worth it.”
Roxanne works with the public health team so is in tune with the medical field. She concentrates on her family and the health of others.
My journey started on February 24, 2017, the day they diagnosed me with breast cancer. I was 53. Doctors discovered my cancer during my annual mammogram. Not once since being diagnosed has my lump ever been felt at my medical appointments. It was close to the surface, but I couldn’t feel it. My cancer would not have been found if it were not for my annual mammogram. I cannot stress enough how important regular check-ups can be.
Taking a deep breath, she said, “It was Stage 2A in one breast. It was a HER@-positive breast cancer which was more aggressive than other types. They followed the diagnosis with six rounds of chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and 25 treatments of radiation I finished in May. I had a regime of Herceptin IV’s every 21 days for a year, which tells the cancer not to come back. I will take a daily dose of Anastrozole for 5 years. Then my treatment will be complete.
“I was so very fortunate to wear a ‘cold cap’ during my chemotherapy. This therapy allowed me to keep my hair. This was such a huge blessing for me, but especially for my family. I tolerated my treatments well, the medical advancements in therapy and medications are astonishing.”
Roxanne explained that she wore the cap for about seven hours each time, including an hour before treatment and three hours after treatment. The cap was hooked to an air conditioning machine that kept the head temperature at 32 degrees. The chairs where she sat had heaters, she had plenty of blankets and she learned to wear sweatshirts.
My kids and Barry would take turns going to treatments with me. They were all kind of mad at me. I found out on Feb. 24 and I waited until Easter Sunday, the day before my treatments started to tell them my treatments were going to start April 18. I wanted to have my own plan. It was a long time before you knew what all the tests meant. It was torture not having answers to the questions that I had and did not want my family to go through that misery. I wanted to have the answers and knew that it would make the process go faster for them. I delayed as long as I could. I didn’t tell my co-workers at work either. I’m a mom, I take care of other people and didn’t want others to worry.
Someday there will be ways to treat this cancer with no surgery. Rozanne said the surgeon who did her breast surgery told her that with the changes in technology and other advancements, it would be the happiest day of her life if she were out of a job.
I understand that the attention comes with the technology and improved survival rates of those who have battled breast cancer. It is no longer a death sentence for women. I feel bad for all those who battle any cancer.