Kim Dunn discovered a lump in her breast upon a self examination. She made an appointment with her gynecologist who sent her to Samaritan Breast Center at Good Samaritan North Health Center for a mammogram. “They suggested I go there because of the digital technology equipment they had.” The mammogram showed that she had a lump that needed further investigation. Diane Anderson, DO, a radiologist at the Center and co-medical director with surgeon, Thomas Heck, MD, did the biopsy and discovered not only a lump in the breast but also under her arm. Kim had breast cancer. A PET scan indicated the cancer had not spread.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was angry. Why me! I’m an athlete. I actively swim, bike, and run. I eat right. I take care of myself.” Once she worked through her disbelief and anger, she decided to become a fighter. “I wanted to pursue a more aggressive plan and go ahead and have the bilateral mastectomy and removal of the right lymph nodes. I took the most aggressive route with everything.”
Kim had a double mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation. “I wasn’t going to be a hero and not take the anti-nausea medicine. I did exactly what they recommended and I got through it. I didn’t miss work. I was tired, but okay.” Kim even volunteered to be part of a clinical study for experimental drugs. “I was going to do anything and everything that was out there to fight this.”
These days Kim is as busy as ever. Her hair has returned. Her strength is back. She and her husband just ran a half marathon. She’s looking forward, but when it comes to her cancer, she’s not ready to exhale. Kim will probably never forget she had cancer, but she has definitely put it behind her. “Cancer showed me I am strong and I am a fighter. Every day a survivor lives beyond their initial diagnosis is another day they are beating cancer. Life is never the same, but always better!”
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