This week marked the start of our Annual Campaign. Over the next 2 weeks, we are going to be sharing story after story of those that have been affected by cancer in some way or another.
I’m going to let Elaine tell you her story in her own words:
My name is Elaine, I am married, mother of a son and daughter and grandmother of 5. I grew up in Dayton, OH but have
lived in Laura, OH for over 40 years. What brought me to Laura? My brother fixed me up on a blind date with his fellow
volunteer firefighter and neighbor in Laura. We dated, fell in love and were married. I enjoy reading, baking, spending
time with my family (especially the grands), walking, music and an occasional get away with just my husband and also with
all my family.
My cancer journey basically started on March 5, 2018 when I received a phone call from where I had my annual
mammogram. The radiologist wanted me to have a 3-D Mammogram and possibly a ultrasound due to a area that they
wanted better pics of but it may also just be due to “dense” breast but they would need me to contact my physician for a
doctors order. Okay, no reason to panic over 15 years ago had a call back it was nothing other than “dense” breast.
Concerned but not panicking, due to the other call back years ago and I had, had a ovarian tumor, surgery and blessed that
tumor removed was benign 8 years prior. Called my doctor asked them to send a order to the center. The next day
scheduling called and they had received the order but I couldn’t to go to my regular location as they did not have a 3-D
machine. First available appointment at any of their locations was March 23, 2018, a 50 minute drive from home each way
but I will know at conclusion of tests when I leave. Okay let’s get this over with telling myself think positive just as before.
March 23 rd we arrive, my turn comes I go back, get ready, have a seat in back waiting area, talk with other ladies, get 3-D
mammogram, waiting area again and talk with ladies and observe area. Escorted into a room and am told I will need the
ultrasound. Okay, thinking what are they seeing or not seeing. Waiting area again, talk with some new and before ladies
observe the comings, those entering consultation room and leaving. Have noticed some times the door has shut
completely on “the room” others times not. My name is called and I am taken to “the room” after picking up my clothes
from the locker, we enter the door is shut, immediately I think this is not going to be good. I’m told go ahead and get
dressed and I’ll be back in a few minutes. I ask the tech if she will get my husband who is in the lobby and bring him back
to be with me. No problem. She returns with my husband and another lady who is radiologist. The radiologist says that
there is a suspicious area and she is recommending I have the area biopsied. I will need a order from my doctor and to
decide who and where I want to do the biopsy. They do have a general surgeon who does biopsy’s at this center a couple
mornings a week. Tech said she had checked while out and my physician had already put in an order for biopsy if needed
with the3-D/Ultrasound orders also that if I wanted this doctor whose office was in the next building he had a opening on
March 27 th . Yes, let’s get this over with. Four days later on March 29 th , I meet the doctor at 6:30a, he explains procedure,
tells my husband he can stay in the room while they do biopsy and the biopsy is done. After I am dressed the surgeon
returns, goes over care of the site, gives me date for follow up appointment and informs me he will be leaving on vacation
to Florida the next day. However, if he gets the results before my appointment would I like him to call me or wait for
follow up. He hands me a phone number, says it’s his mobile and if either myself or my husband have any concerns,
problems or questions about biopsy area call him directly even though he’s going to be out-of-state. I told him I would like
to know either way the sooner the better. Two days later I receive his phone call, with the words no one wants to hear
“Your biopsy came back positive”. He reminds us to call anytime we have his number and he will see us at my follow up
and discuss what’s next.
Do we have any questions now?
What should I ask, I didn’t know, felt scared, dazed, overwhelmed. This was and is the day my life was turned upside down, back and forth changed forever March 29, 2018 approximately 12:30pm. I have cancer, I have breast cancer, I have did he say Invasive Ductal Carcinoma did I hear that right. Invasive that’s bad, invasive plants are hard to get rid of. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, I self exam, I don’t feel it. We just went to see Mickey Mouse a month ago this can’t be. Mom and Dad both died from cancer, J—- my sister had cancer she’s still living, A— my cousin had cancer she died, another L——cousin had cancer she’s still living. Aunt A—- died from cancer, Friend M—had cancer bad she’s still living. Will I die or will I survive? How do I find a Oncologists, Breast Surgeon, where do I go.
2020, I’m a survivor. I had my surgery, I had my chemo treatments followed by radiation treatments and everything that
I’ve learned comes along with a Cancer diagnosis during healing, treatments, and forever physical side effects. Also the
mental and fear of what lays ahead. Will I ever be my old self again. Physically, mentally and emotionally. I’ve met some
great people through this journey and different organizations also.
One organization is Maple Tree Cancer Alliance. When I first started this journey and went to a information meeting at the Cancer Care Center on what to expect with other new inductees to the cancer club I was given information on Maple Tree Cancer Alliance. Also given information from my medical oncologist. I also saw some Maple Tree pamphlets in the radiation department also. After I had completed all my treatments and continued to heal I looked into it more. Then talked with one of my cousins and his high recommendation really made me think I need to do try this. Made some calls, went on line. There was a location not too far but the location site, not Maple Tree said I couldn’t come there due to the fact that my team of doctors and treatment locations was not through their network. When the new hospital in Troy had a open house tour I attended and talked with a representative from Maple Tree. She informed me that they were not open yet but would be opening their Maple Tree in
the hospital in the not so far future, in the hospital near the Cancer Care Center area and showed me the area. I was
impressed with the time she took with me and her encouraging words to me. She took my name and contact information
and gave me hers also informed me that I was still eligible to participate. She left quite an impression on me, taking the
time to explain more about how it works and I just felt like she really cared and was honest about it and me. I was totally
shocked when I asked about the pricing and payments and she said Zero. By then I was really out of shape physically and
still not my old self. A few years prior to my diagnosis and my journey began I had to have back surgery and later knee
surgery both times therapy followed the surgeries and knew was also before. I joined with a group of friends to lose
weight, was doing a senior water class was walking the track and a few exercises I had done during knee therapy before.
After well, still not doing water classes embarrassed and afraid, maybe walk a mile once in a while and no exercises afraid
I’d do damage or strain area. But gaining weight. I knew I needed to do more but didn’t. Wasn’t long till I received a call
that Maple Tree at Troy Kettering was open, up and running. Was I still interested? Yes, telling me, myself and I we can do
this. I went over and had my assessment done and would start as soon as they had the opening. I was on a wait list.
It wasn’t long till I received my call to start. I have found that these trainers are very knowledgeable in their fields and really
explain why we are doing each exercise. Always taking the time if I’m not quite doing it correctly to show me even when I
can’t get my movements coordinating example which one of my left arms. All the benefits doing a specific exercise is for
my body and how one connects with another one. Not just saying do this then go sit and watch. Working with me to help
me better myself.
Attending the Maple Tree One on One in person sessions has totally helped me to gain more confidence,
self-esteem and lifts me up. I feel stronger, I’m moving more, feeling better about myself and am moving more instead of
just sitting. I taking better care of myself, getting out of the fog/funk, through correct exercise for me and my body issues,
healthy living I feel like I am living. Living better to keep cancer away, building my immune system up, improved stamina
and strength. Strength to handle cancer if it reoccurs or anything else the daily life brings. Another thing I’ve learned
through my Maple Tree sessions and my trainers is that I don’t need huge specialized machines, equipment, clothes or
dollars at my own home to do the exercises. I’ve dusted off a couple of 2lb weights I had from years ago and am using
them instead of storing them. I’m no expert but it’s a lot easier to get up off the floor or ground after playing with kids,
cleaning or weeding the flowerbed that it was even this past spring and my balance seems better. Covid-19 shut them
down for a while like everything else for a short time but were up and running again as soon as it was allowed. I have done
a couple of Virtual online training sessions also. Being honest I like my One on One in person sessions a lot better than
virtual session. Our computer is in a small room, not the ideal place to exercise in when someone is overseeing you to be
sure you’re doing it correctly not to harm yourself. Trying to keep the camera adjusted so that they can see my moves and
stances if correct or incorrect. In conversation with old friends, family and new friends if cancer comes into the
conversation, I have shared with them about Maple Tree Cancer Alliance and the way that it is helping me and highly
recommend them to look into getting involved for their own life journey and the effects from cancer for their loved ones.
Two of my close friends told me they have noticed a change in me in my attitude just through our conversations over the
phone since (we haven’t been together in person due to Covid-19) since I started attending Maple Tree sessions. Maple
Tree Cancer Alliance is a well-run and maintained business to help those facing and getting through some of the darkest
hours, days and months maybe even years of someone’s life from fighting cancer. With all the bills and driving expenses
its unbelievable to me that Maple Tree Cancer Alliance does not charge the recipient for the use of their facilities,
equipment and session trainers. I know its true though. I have been and am blessed each and every time I have a session.
Elaine E. Baker