I was 60 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I thought it couldn’t happen to me. That was 22 years ago. My doctor had scheduled a mammogram for me and that mammogram saved my life. I wouldn’t have known about the cancer until it was too late. Sometimes women tell me that they don’t want to have a mammogram because they’re afraid it will hurt. I tell them that one little hurt is going to save you a big one later on.
When I was first diagnosed, Pat Halpin-Murphy hadn’t created the PA Breast Cancer Coalition yet. But once it got started, the PBCC invited me to represent Carbon County in the traveling photo exhibit. I agreed right away. I’m always willing to help with anything. I know that Pat and the PBCC have been working tirelessly and will always keep going to help other women.
Through surgery and radiation treatments, I had faith. And I kept my sense of humor and kept busy. That will get you through difficult times. I love to crochet and have made many bride dolls, and I wanted to do something special for the PBCC. So I made a pink doll and attached 67 roses to the train to represent the women in the 67 counties from the exhibit, and I added pink beads in memory of those we have lost. I was happy to be able to present the doll to Pat at the recent exhibit opening at the Hazelton Health & Wellness Center. Quite a few friends have asked me to make one for them but I won’t make another one like it. It’s one of a kind, just like Pat is.
Over the years I’ve seen a lot of changes, like digital mammograms and other advances. I see many more women getting mammograms now and talking openly about their breast cancer. It’s really good to see that.