In December 2002 Ann Dorrance was a 46 year-old mother of 4 ranging from twins in the 4th grade to a daughter in college. Even though a mammogram the previous year showed nothing, she could feel a lump. Not while lying down though. She could only feel it when she was sitting or standing. Ann has always been a person to forge through and do whatever needs to be done.
She had a biopsy, then chemo to shrink the tumor before surgery, a double mastectomy, more chemo and radiation. She put her trust in her physician, Dr. Bob Gordon in Camp Hill, and she believes finding a doctor who really hears you is an extremely important part of the healing process.
A breast cancer diagnosis affects the whole family, not just the patient. Ann’s oldest daughter was scheduled to go to school in Italy for six months but cancelled the trip without telling her mother. It was important to Ann to continue attending her children’s soccer games and other events. But she emphasizes that there is no right or wrong way to handle your treatment. Whatever works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next.
The one thing she advises other women is to tell your friends and family how they can help you, because they want to. Some days that might mean telling them to let you be sick alone. Other times you might ask them to cook dinner, especially on chemo days. And it’s a good idea to share your experiences with other women who have walked the path you’re traveling. They understand things you’re going through that no one else can.