After three years without a mammogram, Lisa Hanson finally scheduled one. It was a decision that would save her life when further testing, including a biopsy, revealed a breast cancer diagnosis. It was shocking and telling her family proved difficult: “It’s a tough thing to hear. I was alone with my dog at the time and I sent my husband a text to pull over so I could tell him. There was just silence. That was hard to take.” Those first few weeks were filled with lots of tears and attempts to process the news, but the coming months would prove even more difficult thanks to COVID. Since lumpectomies were considered elective at the time, Lisa was forced to put her treatment plans on hold. The delay understandably triggered a depression. Lisa notes, “having the cancer in me, I just wanted it out.”
Finally, four months after diagnosis, Lisa received her lumpectomy, of which the margins were good. She would go on to have four sessions of chemo, which resulted in complete hair loss- something Lisa took in stride: “it was summer, so if I had to go bald, perfect timing!” She also had 20 rounds of radiation, but she is quick to note the hidden blessing having cancer during COVID provided, which is that she was able to recover in her “happy place” in Maine. Surrounded by neighbors who were fully supportive, it allowed her to still be outside/social, while protecting her health.
Since treatment has ended, Lisa is grateful to be off all of her medications saying, “it has allowed me to get back to my true self.” Now, she focuses on mentoring those who have to receive the same diagnosis, making to sure to “include the tmi stuff that you aren’t always told.” She also credits the Lowell General support group as a “fantastic” resource that has helped in her recovery. In all, Lisa hopes to remind people she has never once had a lump and therefore, it is imperative to get your mammogram.