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Karen's Story


Karen's Story

As a school principal, I gave my kids the world. My cancer team did the same for me.

Karen was first diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 1991.  A California resident at the time, she did not have chemotherapy or radiation after her prophylactic mastectomy.  It was three years ago that Karen noticed red marks on her mastectomy incision line and thought they were just an irritation.

In 2004 Karen, now an Arizona resident of nine years, learned that her little lesions were a reoccurrence of cancer cells. Karen proceeded to undergo surgery to remove the tumors.  After surgery, she had the six weeks of recommended full radiation treatment then an additional week of targeted radiation directly on the incision line at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center.

“As a school principal, I was used to teaching life lessons. But I was given the ultimate test. Breast Cancer. Thankfully, the great people at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center were there to help me through it. They immediately started me on a researched, individualized treatment plan. As funny as it sounds, everyone working in radiology had such a great sense of humor that I actually looked forward to my treatments.”

Karen kept working through the treatments and was getting ready to retire after working in the Arizona education system for eleven years. She just talked to herself and said "There are a lot of things that are a lot worse than this. You have everything else in the world going for you.  You have a fabulous place you’re just going to get treatment and where people really, really care about you."

"On the very last day of treatment, the staff has a farewell party and they threw confetti! You get a graduation card – showing you graduated from Radiation Oncology School. The staff does everything they can to make you feel good."

“I now enjoy a healthy retirement and have the energy to look after my grandkids. There just aren’t enough adjectives to describe Banner Thunderbird's loving, kind, A+ cancer staff.”

"I am living proof."

Learn more about cancer care services at Banner Health arrow

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