Breast cancer affects millions of women each year, and it leaves a lasting impact on each woman’s life long after it is gone. The impact touches women of all ages in all different ways.
You might be a wife, a mother, or a daughter battling the disease herself. You might be a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, or close friend of someone going through it.
Each woman leaves more of a legacy than she may ever know in the lives of those who love her. Few legacies show the strength and determination that shine through in the fight against breast cancer. As we all work together in raising breast cancer awareness, we also hope for a future that knows nothing of breast cancer and its impact on the lives of women everywhere.
It is with great honor and respect that we share the stories of these women we know as wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, and most importantly -- as survivors.
For our past, our present, and our future … Every Woman Counts.
Barbara Moon Herman
As summer turned into fall in the year 2009, Barbara Moon Herman went to the Women’s Health Center for her routine mammogram. Like all of her previous screenings, she expected this one to be completely normal. Instead, she was surprised to hear some unexpected news. “After the mammogram, I received a phone call that told me about my results. They had found cancerous cells in my left breast, but I had never had any symptoms or lumps,” recalls Barb. “Before I could really grasp the situation, an appointment was made to discuss next steps. Within a matter of minutes, there was a plan in place.”
As she went in to see Dr. Murphy to discuss her condition, she had lots of questions. “Dr. Murphy immediately referred me to Dr. Hall, and from that point on, I never doubted the outcome of my situation,” she says. “I was diagnosed with ductal cancerous in situ (DCIS) at stage zero. I have a family history of breast cancer, and of other types of cancer. I have seen firsthand what cancer is capable of putting someone through. Although it was a scary experience by nature, I could not have trusted any physicians more than I trusted both Dr. Murphy and Dr. Hall with their diagnosis and approach.”
For Barb, that confidence came from the knowledge she was able to learn from her resources. “As soon as I knew the nature of my diagnosis, I became informed so that I could be fully involved in my treatment plan,” she says. “My questions were answered from people I knew and reliable information that I found online. My trust was securely placed in the hands of physicians who worked as a team to provide quality care that is second to none. They removed any cause for concern I might have had.”
She never questioned her decision to tell her family immediately. “My husband was by my side the entire time,” tells Barb. “I let my brother and sister know over the phone, as they live in Indianapolis and Kokomo. But my sister made sure she was by my side for surgery, and my brother was always there to discuss things by phone. There was no question that my family wanted to do everything possible to ensure that I knew I was loved and supported in this experience. I knew that I didn’t have to do it alone.”
But Barb continued to receive an outpouring of support from more people than she ever expected. “My friends in the community rallied around me as well. Never have I seen or felt such support, strength and encouragement from such a wonderful group of people,” she remembers. “It was so comforting to receive the different kinds of support I needed from different friends who were able to be there for me when I needed them,” she says.
For Barb, that’s what counted. In the winter of 2009, after undergoing some precautionary radiation following her surgery, Barb was counted as a survivor. She is still monitored by her physicians as she approaches her five-year mark being cancer-free. And although her experience impacted those around her in different ways, she learned how much her presence counted in the lives of those she loves.
“I truly believe timing is everything,” notes Barb. “There is never a good time to have to fight a battle like this one, but when you don’t have a choice, you do whatever you need to do,” she says. As you experience something like breast cancer, you never know where your support will come from or what it will look like. But it’s not the appearance of that support that counts. It’s the strength you receive from it. During my fight against breast cancer, I became stronger than I ever knew I could be, and I’m grateful to my friends and family for that.”