While dressing for church one Sunday, I noticed that my right nipple was bleeding. I was diagnosed with breast cancer the following Friday and underwent a lumpectomy. When the hospital tumor board met the following Monday, they told me I needed a mastectomy.
In the aftermath of my surgery, I became very ill with a bacterial and staph infection. When I woke up, I found comfort in my husband, Dein, and the crucifix on the wall.
Eleven days later I was discharged, but I was still very weak. After I began to gain some strength, Dr. Ali, my plastic surgeon, reconstructed my breast using fat and muscle from my stomach, which is called a Tram Flap. This technique works well because the body doesn’t reject its own tissue.
In 2004, I felt the need to “give back” to the hospital and began volunteering. With the help of Sue Yun, coordinator of breast health services, I began counseling other breast cancer patients.
Three years ago, I decided to form a group of volunteers to help other women in similar circumstances. In 2007 the Pink Ribbon Trailblazers became a non profit 501(c)3. Each year we have a “fun”draiser to enable uninsured women to receive a free mammogram regardless of their age. Our “stroll, walk, 5k run, or 20 mile bike ride” takes place in Oxford, Michigan, on the Polly Ann Trail.
So far, the Pink Ribbon Trailblazers have enabled 230 women to receive free mammograms!
Lake Orion, MIWhizzco