Meet Tracy and Kristi, two of the thousands of central Ohio women who have experienced firsthand the benefits of working with a team of experts at Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.
Visit our Survivors group on Facebook called The James Cancer Warriors or follow Tracy on Twitter by clicking the links on their photos below.
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In September 2008, Tracy, 46, of Columbus, had just turned a new page in her life, starting a new job at a local hospital. At the end of a great first week at work, life took Tracy on a different course when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was referred to The James after finding a lump during a routine breast self-exam.
As she began treatment with a mastectomy in December 2008, Tracy’s family, especially her two teenage daughters, rallied fiercely behind her. In February 2009, her treatment continued with a chemotherapy clinical trial. Through trials like Tracy's, patients at The James have access to some of the most advanced cancer treatments available - many of which are offered nowhere else in the world.
Tracy recently completed her last round of chemotherapy and is considering reconstructive surgery.
I completed my last round of chemotherapy in April 09. Now I am on a 5 yr regime of hormone therapy. My tumor was hormone positive, meaning that hormones (namely estrogen) would make the type of cancer I had grow faster. As a preventative I am taking medicine to block hormone production.
I am also currently in the midst of the reconstruction process. My surgeon, Dr. Michael Miller said I was a good candidate for a DIEP flap. DIEP (deep inferior epigastric artery) flap is when the surgeon takes skin & tissue (fat, yea!) from the abdomen (even better) and uses it to create the new breast. The skin/tissue is connected with microvascular surgery and it is amazing!
I was blessed to have this procedure available to me. There are not many places where you can have this done. I chose this procedure because I didn’t want to have to anything foreign (implant) in my body, so this was the best option for me.
I had my initial reconstruction surgery in Dec 09. I have had a couple “revisions” (small outpatient surgeries/procedures) and will be scheduling my last one soon. Reconstruction is a process not a one-time event.
Everything has gone wonderfully! I was surprised by the results and felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. My doctor said that sometimes a woman will unconsciously carry a burden of being disfigured after their mastectomy. I am so glad I chose to have breast reconstruction.
I am thankful that The James has an awesome plastic surgery team. I love their mission statement “To restore and make whole” …how true.
I am also participating in several clinical trials, the most recent studying the benefits of Yoga and breast cancer treatment side-effects.
One thing I have learned through my cancer experience, Life is a journey…stop and smell the roses…enjoy every moment.
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Kristi was like any other 27-year old in May 2007; happily married and enjoying life with family and friends. All of that changed quickly, however, when Kristi learned that she not only had breast cancer but was pregnant with her first child.
When many oncologists would have made her terminate her pregnancy, Kristi’s care team at The James assured her that she and her baby would survive and thrive no matter what. From scheduling chemotherapy around her pregnancy, to helping her give birth to a healthy baby girl, Kristi, now 29, cites the care she received at The James as a true gift.
Kristi is now in remission. She completed treatment in December 2008.
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