乐动体育官方网站Two days after Christmas, Alana received a phone call that would change her life. The results were in from her mammogram, and there was need for a follow-up appointment. Although Alana has been a patient with MCPN for more than twenty-five years, she never expected a call like this.
“I hate the C-word,” Alana confided. Alana’s father and both grandmothers had battled cancer when she was younger, and she knew firsthand just what a toll this diagnosis could take on a family.
Alana shared how Erin, a Physician Assistant at North Aurora Family Health Services, took her in like family. After she received the news, she said that Erin’s office called her the next day. Erin said she was heartbroken, a sentiment that touched Alana and made her feel truly cared for. Alana and Erin had begun their relationship nine years ago, when Erin began helping Alana with with weight management and sleep apnea. Since then, she has taken over as Alana’s primary care provider.
As a parent of three adult children, Alana immediately began trying to calculate how she could prioritize working to support herself and her family through this new season of life.
“I’m very proud of my kids. If anything, I want them to be proud of me,” she said.
This desire, coupled with the support she received from Erin and MCPN, motivated Alana to carry on with a positive attitude, even though she knew the path before her would be difficult.
Alana’s journey with cancer began in 2016, when she started a new job. She made an appointment with MCPN’s Outreach and Enrollment team to make sure she could still see Erin even with her new employment opportunity. Because she would still qualify for Medicaid, her financial screener also advised her to get her annual mammogram scheduled. Alana had been putting it off for months, but for some reason, she finally agreed. This small intervention could very well have saved Alana’s life.
After the first abnormal mammogram, Alana had two additional mammograms, an ultrasound and a biopsy before her oncology team shared that her cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. In January of 2017, she had her first surgery and was hospitalized with complications until March. From then until August, she completed chemo and radiation. Toward the end of the year, she was finally able to “ring the bell.”
“You ‘ring the bell’ when you complete chemo and also again, when you complete radiation,” Alana explained. “I rang that bell, and I was really grateful.”
Just a few days before her initial diagnosis, Alana had shared with her church leadership that she didn’t feel like she was making a difference. As she reflected on her journey over the last two years, she recognizes now how her experience with breast cancer has deepened her empathy immensely. As others around her have been diagnosed with cancer, she wanted to be there for them. She knows now how to care more thoughtfully for those who face the same battle she went through. She is eager and willing to support others.
乐动体育官方网站“Sitting in that waiting room, especially when you see the other people who are waiting in there a second time…you know what they’re going through,” Alana shared. “You just want to go over and hold their hand or something because you know it isn’t always good news. You know because you’ve been through it.”
乐动体育官方网站Alana received vast support from her church, family and friends as she continued to fight her cancer. One of her co-workers even ran a 5K race in her honor! She looks forward to providing this same kind of support to others and she wants others to know how important it is to get screened and catch the disease early.
“No one should ever go through this alone,” she said. “Because of Erin’s care, I never felt like I was alone… knowing that she was there, just a call away, was very comforting.”
Earlier this year, Alana had her follow-up mammogram. She was all clear.
乐动体育官方网站“I am so thankful for that mammogram,” she said. “Even though it spread to my lymph nodes, it was easy to catch… Who knows, if I had waited.”
乐动体育官方网站Learn more about the Fight Like a Bronco ceremony .