Harford Co. Mom With Breast Cancer Gets Life Changing Second Opinion

Harford Co. Mom With Breast Cancer Gets Life Changing Second Opinion

Maybe today’s a good painting day. A good day for painting. I was with another health care organization
and I had gone to get my annual mammogram. – Mommy, how about pink inside it? That’s a great idea! Good job, Sweetheart. – They saw something alarming. They said come back in 6 months. I did. They still saw something and they said come
back again in six months and I said ok. Then the radiologist said, “This is most
likely not cancer, let’s just check it out and get a biopsy and, you know, put this to
rest.” And the next day he would- he was to call
me to most likely, assure me that it wasn’t breast cancer. In fact, he said, “We got your results back
and it turns out you do have cancer.” It was invasive ductal carcinoma, low grade. I consider myself a very strong person a very
faithful person ready to take on anything and that rattled- that rattled me. – You need more orange? What color should Mommy do? Yay! – Having breast cancer with a three- and five-year-old
initially was terrifying that their little lives might be interrupted in a negative way,
but then I just said, nope, this is not my style. And so I’m going to be more driven than ever
before to be cancer free forever. We had some decisions to make. You know, my twin sister had walked through
me every step of the way. And she knew a lot more than I did about radiation
oncology having been a radiation oncology nurse. And she was really committed to having me
get a second opinion. And that is when my journey of 100 steps took
the most amazing turn. And I have chills just thinking about it. So this is the MedStar Health Bel Air Campus
and here we have the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute, our Cancer Center here. The affiliation gives me as a physician the
ability to network with physicians who are doing cutting edge research in breast cancer. Melissa came to my office because she had
been newly diagnosed with breast cancer. And when she came in, we were able to arrange
what we call a multidisciplinary breast consultation, so on that day met with me for a breast surgical
options since I’m a breast surgeon, but she also met with medical oncologists as well
as radiation oncologists. I was most impressed with how they were able
to schedule all in one day. I felt really like I was their main priority
in those meetings. Everybody’s cancer is different. Plan could be different. When all these physicians minds come together
and they talk about the patient, we come up with a good composite plan. The patients, every time they walk in, this
is the one thing that they say, they are just so happy that they don’t have to go out of
here. If I tell them, you are here, I need blood
tests, I need your scanning. I need you to meet with this physician, it’s
all right in this building and that makes life so much easier for- I mean, that would
be the same thing I would want for myself. I left that day knowing I was going to switch
to MedStar Health because I just felt that they were the best possible team for me. I had my lumpectomy at [MedStar] Franklin
Square, with Dr. Okabe. I feel good! She prayed with me before our surgery and
that made a lifechanging difference for me. It really did. I was able to go into that our OR with total
and complete peace of mind. We looked at the calendar and I said I am
going to celebrate my 46th birthday having my first chemo treatment and this is the best
thing I can do to live it to the fullest and highest potential. And so my twin sister went with me. I met the nurses there, all of the nurses
in the Cancer Center who help administer the chemo treatment. They are just like big sisters to me. The first time’s scary because you don’t
know how your body’s going to respond and you don’t know what side effects you might
have and how that might impact not only you but your family. And so it can be a little bit unnerving. – Dad! – I knew that my children would have a response
to my hair loss. The more my husband and I prepared ourselves,
we could then prepared our children. And we made it fun. It’s just hair. And so Melissa is amazing. She brings in such a lot of energy, and it’s
not just within her. It touches everybody who’s around her and
that you know whoever is sitting in the room with her can feel that energy. – My last day of chemo! – It’s beyond my wildest expectations
for me to be living the life I’m living. I married my best friend – Who’s my best
girl? – I adore my children. And, I mean, life has its challenges, but
I gladly take the challenges that I’ve been blessed with because I’m really doing well. So Melissa has an early stage breast cancer. She will be cured of this cancer. Over 90 percent of patients who have this
cancer are cured. MedStar Health in Bel Air is such a blessing
for so many reasons.


  1. So proud of you Melissa. God will take care of you and your family!! Stay encouraged. I am sure this helped someone else as well. God bless you!!

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