Surviving Well: Louise, Breast Cancer

Louise Thomas has been a house nursing supervisor (CAD) at Rose Medical Center for almost 20 years. In June, she felt what she describes as a “twinge” in her right breast. She did a self-exam and felt an unusual hard spot. Although she was just one week away from her annual mammogram, she went to her primary care physician to ask for an order for a diagnostic mammogram.

Later that day, Louise had a mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy with Dr. John Lewin at the Rose Breast Center. Within one week, she had surgery with breast surgeon Dr. Barbara Schwartzberg to remove the tumor and five lymph nodes. Louise was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.

Since surgery, she has undergone three rounds of chemotherapy and has three rounds left to complete. After chemo, she will begin her radiation therapy, which is another six-week treatment process.

Louise has a family history of cancer, including her grandmother who had breast cancer. So she knew that given her heredity, it was possible she would face a breast cancer diagnosis. She was always careful to have her annual mammogram, and even at her well-woman exam in April, her doctor did not find this lump. Fortunately, Louise knew that something didn’t feel right and followed her instinct to check out that “twinge” she felt. Louise now stresses the importance of monthly self-exams, even in the mix of an annual mammogram and check at a well-woman exam.

Louise found a strong support network with her coworkers at Rose Medical Center, including several women who also fought a battle with breast cancer. She continues to work while she undergoes her chemotherapy, and said “of course I work – this is where I feel good!” With her built-in support group at work and ongoing encouragement from her husband at home, Louise has a positive outlook and looks forward to being cancer-free.  

The Rose “Surviving Well” Calendar is a 12-month calendar highlighting our cancer services, physicians, and some inspirational stories from our patients. Louise is our survivor for February, which is also Cancer Prevention Month.

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