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“Stronger than cancer”
Darlene Mazur did not expect to get breast cancer. Especially after genetic testing was negative following her mother’s death from breast cancer 14 years earlier. However, while performing a self-breast exam she discovered two lumps and did not feel well. Darlene decided to call her doctor. Doctors at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital confirmed that it was cancer. That month, Laura Dalla Vecchia, MD, removed multiple tumors during surgery. After seeing how aggressive the cancer was, Darlene opted to get a double mastectomy.
Darlene tried to continue working while going through treatment but ultimately, when faced with chemotherapy and radiation, she wanted to focus on recovery and spend time with her family. “Yes, I lost my hair, but it grew back,” she said. Darlene was very grateful for her doctors. She was comforted by the way they listened and explained everything. “They saved my life,” she said. “I know life can change quickly and throw us off our course, but having a support system, faith, inner strength and a great team of doctors can get you through it.”
Darlene went through intense reconstructive surgery with plastic surgeon, Vik Reddy, MD, without any complications and started to do things again that she enjoyed. She even started working again. Darlene is now a nurse on the oncology floor at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Clinton Township. Darlene loves nursing and taking care of other people and adores the nursing staff at Henry Ford Macomb. “It’s an honor to be a part of a team that is so caring, and whose work revolves completely around the patient. It has come full circle for me and Henry Ford Health System has been there the whole time. Now, it’s my turn to give back and help others,” she said.
Since cancer, Darlene and her family built their dream home in the northern part of Macomb County. This is something that she said she would have put off if it wasn’t for her new outlook on life. “Cancer changes everything,” she said.
“My hope is that my story will encourage women to at least perform self-breast examinations monthly, without being afraid,” she said. “Take that fear and change it into control.”