Choosing to have a bilateral mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2012 was a sensible choice for Jamie Day.
“I just thought, I never want to go through this again,” said the now 59 year old. “Well….famous last words.”
After having both breasts removed and reconstructed at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, it was both shocking and disheartening to learn just a short time later, in May 2013, the doctors had discovered another lump.
“Apparently there is less than a one-percent chance of this,” said Day. “A small piece of tiny fat in there was still me, and that’s where the tumor grew.”
Although, for the second surgery, doctors were able to remove all of the cancer through a lumpectomy, Day and her team decided to tackle this second cancer aggressively, including hormone suppression therapy, and radiation.
As a substitute teacher and musician she misses being able to give her students a hug, or walking around with her guitar and singing. “I really miss my long red hair,” said Day. “It was down to my waist.”
But the hardest part of her journey is living in a hotel.
“We are building a house in Ft. Garland,” she said “and because of possible mold and bacteria, I can’t stay there.”
Along with the strong community support she’s received, Day credits the nurse navigators at Penrose-St. Francis Breast Care Center, for a playing a significant role in her recovery and optimism. “Sometimes God puts the right people in our path to help us out,” Day said.
Because she was unable to go home, and home was such a distance to go, Day is enormously grateful to the nurse navigators for helping her with incidentals such as special clothing to wear after surgery, a Wal-Mart gift card to get specific items needed for her recovery, and even gas cards to help her get to her treatments.
But it was the other things she got from the nurse navigators, like encouragement, nurturing and compassion, that she treasured the most. “They are absolutely invaluable when you’re going through something like this,” she said.
“Everyone at Penrose was absolutely wonderful,” she said. “This is quite a journey, but I truly felt everyone cared.”