A small price to pay for the battle I have won

Patient Story

Kathleen RobbinsKathleen Robbins was diagnosed in 2008 with breast cancer that had spread throughout her breast tissue. A lumpectomy and chemotherapy were unable to destroy the cancerous tissues and Kathleen underwent a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Kathleen’s reconstruction was unique in that tissue was used from her thigh, rather than her abdomen, to recreate her breast. The procedure, one of the first few performed in this way at Lankenau, had excellent cosmetic results. A successful bout of radiation therapy left Kathleen in remission as she travels the world with the student ambassador program “People to People.”

Dear Lankenau Leaders,

Looking back on it now, I realize it had been a few years since my last mammogram and I wasn’t one to do regular self examinations. I remember getting ready to take a shower and catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I knew what it was from the moment I felt it.

When your family doctor tells you to hunt down specialists, you know you need to find someone for a long road ahead. One phone call with Dr. Sabol and I was sold. She looked at my records and called me, having never met me, to schedule me before her regular office hours began, just to fit me in.

I knew I had the best team from the start. I put myself in their hands and trusted all they told me. I wanted to know everything with no sugar coating. Dr. Sabol said “the first thing I’ll tell you is this, you will be around for Christmas.” Dr. Sabol gave me strength to take control. She would call me when she was driving home at night so we could talk for as long as I needed. I went on vacation with my family where I shaved off all my hair before chemo could take it from me. I got up and went to work every day because of my incredible support system.

I’ll never forget the care and concern of the nurses who took care of me after my operation. I remember the gentleman who came to turn-down the room telling me he couldn’t believe what I had been through because I looked so well.

When I see Dr. Sabol now, my appointment is a five-minute physical exam, then 45 minutes catching up. Traveling 45 minutes daily for three minutes of radiation therapy, the medications, the chemotherapy-induced diabetes...it is all a small price to pay for the battle I have won.

Originally appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of 'Lankenau Leaders'

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