Pat Lacey is a breast cancer survivor. But, like many cancer survivors, she has endured a long path to get there. She first found a lump in her right breast in December of 2013. Hoping it was nothing, she waited to go to the doctor’s to be examined until the lump began to get larger. Fortunately, she did not have to undergo a full mastectomy, and instead had the lump removed with a lumpectomy in March of 2014. After the surgery, she began chemotherapy, which ultimately led to a total of 33 radiation treatments. Since she was diagnosed, Pat has joined the Prairie Dragon Paddlers, a group that empowers breast cancer survivors through dragon boating and community. Thanks to family, friends, and a strong will, Pat was able to win her fight against breast cancer. She would like others to know that it does get better, you just have to take things one step at a time.
You just keep your mind in one day at a time, one week at a time. You just go to the next treatment, go to the next appointment... And it’s a mental game. You just remind them, it does get better.
The paddlers are doing well for us mentally. We have a venue where we can talk. I mean, we don’t get together and just “oh, woe is me, we’re all survivors” but every once in a while someone’s back in for another test or a new member is just getting out of treatment and we try to be there for them and talk to them about our experiences and what we do know.
You need some distraction so you’re not sitting at home going “Oh, that next treatment’s coming up. I don’t wanna do this” or “The last one was horrible” or “Nothing tastes good.” Beyond that, the hard ones are the people that don’t have a lot of family. We have a few people who will sometimes meet and go and sit with them while they’re going through chemo. It’s a mental game. You just remind them, it does get better.
Audra Popp Rochester, MN