The call came on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day seven years ago.
Michelle Buscher, then 42 years old, was soundly slumbering, enjoying the last day of a three-day weekend before going back to work. Her phone rang promptly at 8 a.m. The woman at the other end of the line told her that her test results came back. Michelle had lobular invasive carcinoma.
“What did you say?” she asked the woman, waking up her husband, Jerry.
“Honey, you have cancer. You need to come in tomorrow and talk to the surgeon,” the woman explained.
And that quickly, in two short minutes, Michelle’s seemingly perfect life evaporated into a nightmare. “Your whole world turns upside down in a moment’s notice.” Read the rest of this entry »
When Carol Harms went in for her annual mammogram this February and a suspicious spot was found, she didn’t give it too much thought.
There’s very little presence of cancer in her family. And she had been feeling intermittently unwell since November, so she thought the spot might be an anomaly. The previous year, her mammogram required a follow-up mammogram, which turned out to be nothing.
She was more concerned about the biopsy six days later. She recalled thinking, “I’m going to have to do this biopsy, and it’s going to hurt.” Read the rest of this entry »
Super Survivor, Kelli Fisher
As program coordinator of Memorial Medical Center’s palliative care program, Kelli Fisher has been a source of strength and stability to hundreds of patients for the last decade, many of them facing their own battles with cancer.
What she didn’t know was their own journeys would one day be a source of strength for her, after she received confirmation in 2015 that a suspicious lump in her left breast was cancer.
A Sherman resident, Kelli is one of three women who were randomly chosen as Super Survivors to be honored at this year’s Memorial’s Be Aware Women’s Fair. The seventh annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Read the rest of this entry »
Super Survivor Lisa Woods
When Lisa Woods received the news she had breast cancer, she wasn’t surprised. As the seventh woman in her family to have breast cancer, she was braced to hear the news from her doctor one day.
Lisa, who’s 46 and grew up in Springfield, has had annual mammograms since she was 26 years old, long before the age of 40 when women are recommended to receive yearly mammograms.
Her mother is a two-time cancer survivor; other women in her family who have had breast cancer are her three aunts, a grandmother and a great-aunt—all on her mother’s side of the family. Her grandmother, one of her aunts and her great-aunt all lost their battles with breast cancer. Read the rest of this entry »
Super Survivor Christina Nation
Christina Nation knew she could face her battle with breast cancer. She had already endured the most difficult thing a mother or father could face—the death of a child.
Certain moments in our lives are so earth-shattering, whether the news is good or bad, that we never forget the date. For Christina, her world shattered on May 22, 2013, when her 14-year-old son, Wyatt, took his life.
“He was such a happy kid. He loved to be funny and joke with people,” Christina said. He enjoyed video games but was equally at home outside, including fishing or taking boat rides on the river. He was eager to help others, whether giving money to a guy holding a sign on a street or dropping some change in the Salvation Army kettle at Christmas. He looked, acted and talked like his dad and loved to hear his dad’s hunting stories. “And he loved it every time someone told him that he was just like his dad. He was just an all-around great kid.” Read the rest of this entry »
Becca with her first grandchild, Nora
No matter how old you grow, no matter how bad the news, Mom and Dad always know just what to say.
When Becca Moots heard her doctor tell her in 2007 that she had breast cancer, all she could think was that she had been handed a death sentence. She felt hopeless.
She dreaded breaking the news to her father, a physician, but he reassured her that cancer is not a death sentence. “That helped me a lot to be able to get through this,” Becca recalled.
Becca is one of three women who were randomly chosen as Super Survivors to be honored at this year’s Memorial’s Be Aware Women’s Fair. The sixth annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Read the rest of this entry »
Shauna and sons, Eric (left) and Jason (right)
It wasn’t the Christmas she was expecting.
After her annual mammogram revealed a suspicious area on her right breast, Shauna Becker had some follow-up tests and a biopsy in December 2007. She instructed her doctor to let her know as soon as the results were in – don’t wait until after the holiday to call her.
“I preferred to know,” the 52-year-old Taylorville woman said. “I didn’t want to have to worry about the results.”
So the call came on Christmas Eve. It was breast cancer. Stage 3.
Shauna told her family – about 15 to 20 relatives gathered for the holiday – and told them not to worry. They were going to celebrate Christmas. And when the new year came, she was going to fight it and get better. Read the rest of this entry »
Barb Reynolds will never forget her first words when she learned that she had breast cancer for the first time.
“I’m only 39 years old,” she told her doctor in October 1997. “My youngest baby is only 4.”
Since that day 17 years ago, Barb has battled breast cancer three times. She learned a year ago that breast cancer had once again reared its ugly head.
“I just couldn’t believe that after all these years I was going to have to go through it all over again,” said Barb, a speech-language pathologist at Lee Elementary School in Springfield, part of Springfield School District 186, with three grown children and two adult stepchildren.
Barb is one of three women who were randomly chosen as Super Survivors to be honored at this year’s Memorial’s Be Aware Women’s Fair. The fifth annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Read the rest of this entry »
The day before her mastectomy, Sue Fagan, a loan document specialist at Bank of Springfield, got a call asking her to drop by work for a few hours.
No problem, she thought. She was glad to answer any last-minute questions before she was off work for a while recovering after her surgery. What was waiting for her took her completely by surprise.
Her desk was decorated with streamers and balloons. A large homemade poster of Katy Perry was on her desk (Sue had adopted the pop star’s song “Roar” as her theme in her journey to beat breast cancer). A large bag was filled with books, pajamas and things to do.
The entire department had dressed in pink. And then she noticed the other departments in the branch had dressed in pink, too. But that wasn’t all. Other branches were also clad in pink and emailed their photos to encourage her.
“It is still overwhelming to this day when I think about it,” Sue said. Read the rest of this entry »
Even though breast cancer ran in her family, Angela Moore didn’t think anything was seriously wrong when she felt an unusual mass in her breast.
She knew to be alert for a lump in the breast. Her mother had passed away from breast cancer as well as an aunt and a grandmother. This mass, however, didn’t feel anything like what she had expected and so she thought it was harmless.
“I felt something in there, but it was long and felt like a vein. I didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t a lump,” she said.
Six months later, Angela brought it up during a visit with her gynecologist, who referred her to have it examined. She learned that she had two tumors in the same breast, one positioned on top of the other, which had caused the unusual formation she had felt. Read the rest of this entry »