In mid-2012, Sara found a spot on her breast. She thought nothing of it at first. “I looked it up on a website,” she said. “I was shocked to find out that it was the symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer.”
She immediately went to the doctor. Test after test lead to an inflammatory breast cancer diagnosis. A second form of cancer also showed up from a mammogram. “I have two types of breast cancer,” she explained.
Despite her diagnoses, Sara has managed to stay grounded. She has finished her sixth round of chemo, and the doctors feel positive about her battle with cancer. The next round of treatment will involve a mastectomy and radiation. “Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer,” Sara said. “It looks like a hard spot on your breast, like the skin of an orange. It has stippling to it. I had it a few months before I figured out what it was.”
Sara first heard about Susan G. Koman from her mother. The call to the Susan G. Komen office put Sara in touch with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) in Nebraska. Cindy Calhoun, the director, helped out Sara and her husband Dan by providing them with gas cards to alleviate some of the expense of driving to Kearney for treatments. “She talked to me about my cancer. She calls periodically to see how we’re doing. Whenever I have concerns, or just want to bounce ideas off of her, she listens and calls back with information.”
How does Sara sum up her fight against breast cancer? “It makes you more caring toward other people and the problems they have,” Sara said. “Everybody has issues. Everybody has problems. I feel more empathetic to other people's plights.” She added, “It has made me pare down to the basics and not worry about peripheral things. I have set priorities – ‘to do this, this and this, I have to give up this and this’ – and, you know, it’s okay.”