It’s a story heard often in the Runway community: an accidental moment of noticing a lump that turns out to be cancerous. In July of 2019, Jodi Garoun experienced just that, and at the age of 42, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
To complicate the diagnosis, Jodi was in the middle of her divorce when she found her lump. Her ten year old son, already adjusting to the changes, especially struggled with Jodi’s diagnosis. On July 10, 2019 Jodie learned she had IDC, hormone positive, HER2- breast cancer. Needing support, she brought her best friend Tammy with her to the appointment. In a strange twist, Tammy herself would be diagnosed with breast cancer five days later.
The two would follow similar paths- having surgeries weeks apart. In December 2019, Jodi underwent a double mastectomy. She recovered well and continued treatment at BMC, but focused mainly on a holistic approach- emphasizing healthy diet and lifestyle. She declined chemo and radiation, mostly in fear it would make her existing heart condition worse. While her decision to do so certainly was a point of contention with some people in her life, Jodi felt strong in her decision. When her doctor suggested taking Tamoxifen, Jodi declined after learning her chances of recurrence were nearly similar either way.
It is the fear of recurrence that sticks with Jodi. While she acknowledges having a new lease on life, she does not relate to being a “survivor,” simply because of her constant worry of breast cancer returning.
She stresses the importance of having support and she credits Tammy for being her rock. Always checking in with each other, their shared breast cancer journey meant they knew exactly what each was going through. Indeed, Jodi’s biggest advice to the newly diagnosed is to find as many survivors as possible to connect with. It is only them who will know what you are feeling and going through. Lastly she notes, a positive attitude makes all the difference and that even when it is most hard, seeking happiness is the way to move through a diagnosis.
We are so excited to welcome Jodi to our 15th Anniversary runway later this month!