Donna is a self-proclaimed workaholic. For 25 years she has met the deadlines and fast pace of the healthcare industry. She is a mom, wife and daughter of elderly parents, who rarely took the time to care for herself. However, she will tell you that in October, she took a few moments out to take care of herself. This turned out to be one of the best decisions she ever made.
In October of 2012, she went to her annual mammogram appointment, expecting it to take less than an hour of her busy day. She had always received good mammogram reports, and she believed this one would be no different. However, by lunchtime, Lexington Clinic's Center for Breast Care called and asked her to come back. Her thought was they got a bad picture, no big deal. When she arrived, they took another view and performed an ultrasound. When she talked to Dr. Chad Harston, Lexington Clinic radiologist, expecting him to say it was nothing, he said she needed a needle biopsy, right away. Donna was overwhelmed. It was all happening too fast. Eleanor Broaddus, Lexington Clinic breast care coordinator, reassured Donna saying, "we caught it early."
Surgery was scheduled two weeks later with Dr. William Walton, Lexington Clinic surgeon. Chemo treatment followed. The first treatment was very difficult. Since then, the "Chemo Angels" have taught Donna to take better care of herself when she has a treatment. She does not force herself to be everything to everyone, as she often did. She, now, allows others to care for her. When getting treatments at the John D. Cronin Cancer Center, Donna asks questions and gets pampered by the staff. She appreciates how "each person is treated as an individual, not a number." "They explain everything and don't ever get tired of questions," Donna says. She receives care packages and support from survivors, and her doctors call and check on her progress in therapy. Due to all of this love and compassion, she has decided to pay it forward.
Every opportunity Donna gets, she reminds women to get annual breast exams, and many have written to her telling her that they scheduled a mammogram because of her story. According to Donna and many cancer survivors, that's what it's all about. They use their stories to educate others and prompt them to self care. Through the support of others, and her own determination, Donna is doing everything she can to ensure a long and full life. All the while, she remembers that every moment is precious.
"Doctors and staff take so much time with us. Each person is treated as an individual, not a number."
Lexington Clinic is Central Kentucky's largest and oldest medical group. We have more than 200 providers in more than 30 specialties taking care of 600,000+ patients in the Lexington community since 1920.