“I had cancer, it didn’t have me.” (Healthy You)

Healthy You

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) “I know 1 in every 8 women get diagnosed with breast cancer and in 2017, October 29th I happened to be one of those 8.”

In her 28 years of hard work at United Regional, Karen Leinweber has served as the event coordinator and as an educator for breast cancer awareness in texoma. Little did karen know that she herself would hear the news many women fear.

Two years ago, Karen was diagnosed with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. This type of cancer tests negative for estrogen, progesterone and her2 protein receptors, meaning the growth of the cancer is not fueled by these hormones and is unresponsive to hormonal therapy. Out of all breast cancers, it makes up only 10-20% of diagnoses.

According to breast health navigator, Ellen Canon, there are 15 different types of breast cancers and none are treated the exact same.

“Treatment options are different for every person,” says Canon, “Some people go straight to surgery, some people have to have chemotherapy before their surgery, and some people don’t even need chemotherapy or radiation, so every…Depending on the level where they are diagnosed, they’re treated differently.”

For Karen, her breast cancer was aggressive, forcing her go through chemotherapy and genetic testing.

“My gynecologist told me I had breast cancer, and then we immediately started with a kit to get tested the BRCA gene and I am a carrier so that made my daughter need to be tested and my sister to be tested,” said Karen, “I had 16 rounds of chemo, I lost my hair and got to wear all kinds of really cute wigs and so found some good side of it along the way.”

With a great sense of humor and resilience to the pain, Karen was able to get through her double mastectomy and several rounds of chemo. Two years later, she’s ready to go at the starting line of a new chapter.

“I’m doing great!” said Karen, “I’m excited…Two years ago I ran my first 5k at the Race for the Cure coming up on October 5th, and last year I walked it, and this year I’m running again…”

A journey through breast cancer is not an easy one and if you or someone close to you is diagnosed, Karen suggests keeping a journal to document your journey and emotions. She also says to keep your faith, family and friends close to your heart.

“I just want to thank everyone for all the support, the love and support from my doctors–my team of doctors, my coworkers, especially my family, and my very dear friends for all that they did for me during my time. It was a long journey but I had cancer, it didn’t have me.”

If you’d like to learn more about the breast health services at United Regional, click here.

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