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It started out like any other day. Lori was in her room, having just got off the phone with her husband who was deployed at the time, and she had an itch. That’s when she noticed something peculiar—a large bump.
The next day, Lori visited her family physician, who recommended she go and get a mammogram. From there, things happened quickly. It started with the mammogram, then an ultrasound, which lead to a biopsy—all completed within one week. On October 27th, 2016 Lori received her diagnosis—stage 2 breast cancer.
Although it would have been easy to do, Lori didn’t let this diagnosis interrupt her life. “I remember sitting on my floor crying, and my son came in and wrapped his arms around me and we just cried. And then I just got up and said, we’re not letting this get us down. We planned on going to the grocery store today, so we’re going. And my mom and I went to the grocery store and went on our day.”
Lori had previously worked in oncology in the Jacksonville community, so she was no stranger to this process. In November, two days before Thanksgiving, Lori underwent surgery. She had a lumpectomy, followed by chemo on December 29th. A few weeks later, Lori started to lose her hair—taking matters into her own hands, she asked her husband to shave her head. Lori remembers saying, “If this is the worst thing that’s going to happen to me, we’re good.”
Over the next three months, Lori underwent four rounds of chemo, which concluded on March 3rd. “I felt very comfortable going in there, the ladies were so nice. What really impressed me most about my physician was that when I went in there, they told me exactly what had happened to me in the last couple of months. I didn’t have to tell them anything. They had everything written down on paper.”
Throughout the whirlwind of appointments, treatments, and her own day-to-day, Lori thought to set herself a treatment end date. She had decided she was going on a vacation to Mexico with her husband, and she was not going to let radiation stand in the way. And it didn’t.
One week after completing radiation, Lori and her husband took off to Mexico for four days. And ever since then, she’s been doing great.
When it comes to her treatment, Lori remembers one monumental day in particular, “The last day of treatment, ringing the bell was amazing. It’s an indescribable feeling. You just look forward to that day for so many months, and sometimes it takes years for people to ring the bell. It’s a goal that you have—you have that date in your head… on this day I’m going to be finished. Then it’s done. Cancer is done.”