Breast Cancer Warrior Finds Answers

By: Carole Sanek

Twenty-four years ago this November at 430P I received a phone call that did just that. I was in a daze because I had just heard the words “you have breast cancer,” and after that I heard nothing else.

I had to go through an entire weekend with no other information. There was no computer to search in our house.  All I could do was go to the library and borrow books, but again this was not an answer because I did not have a clue what would happen to me next – I was in the dark.

Worse yet I had been an Oncology RN at a time when patients came into the hospital for hospice care and in my mind’s eye all I could see were the patients I had cared for until they passed.

Fast forward 24 years, so much has changed and is continuing to change. We have access to answers now. In many cases we know people who have walked through the pink fires of breast cancer. We see celebrities with a breast cancer diagnosis, we listen to them on the news shows, we have walked in the walks, and we have worn the pink ribbon. We thrive.

Information is available to us in so many ways. However, I and others, have found too much information can be confusing and overwhelming and our heads hurt, our brains are on overload and we still find ourselves without definitive answers.

In June of this year I found myself looking for answers again and I searched the Internet for hours.  I had been told a small suspicious lesion had been detected in 3D Mammography and I needed a biopsy.  This would be my 5th biopsy and each one comes with the same fears I had 24 years ago.

Several weeks later SmartBridge Health reached out to me from my blog which is about surviving and thriving in life. The timing could not have been better because I had questions, I wanted and needed answers and those answers came to me through a telephone consultation with Jeremy Force, DO of Duke University. 

Dr. Force and I talked about biopsies. We discussed treatments for a second cancer in a radiated breast. We discussed mastectomy options over continuing to have biopsies over and over again.  We discussed the type of cancer I had 24 years ago.  I got help from Dr. Force and SmartBridge Health. I received answers. I know my path now. 

Over the years I have worked with top physicians in top hospitals and I have worked in rural settings where the best answers were hundreds of miles away.  I have also worked outside the US in a country where we would bus women into the capital city to receive care. I understand the importance of having choices presented to us in the form of educated second opinions.

SmartBridge Health is the bridge over the gap of your unanswered questions.  I am extremely grateful to them for helping me put my confusion to rest.

Hua Wang