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Throughout the course of her care Doreen was impressed with the bedside manner of her care team and the empathy she got from the staff. “They are human, too, and they understand.” She described that there were times they would cry with her.
Doreen started chemo in February 2004, but not before returning to her job at WJR radio. She was very determined to keep busy so that she would not think about what was going on with her health. She felt in control at work. “I had no more control over this part of my life anymore,” she said, regarding her health.
Doreen admitted that chemotherapy changed her body’s chemistry. When she lost her hair after the second treatment it was black. It grew back salt and pepper.
“I thought losing my hair would be a big deal and would bother me but it didn’t even matter,” she said. “Things that used to be important to me went out the window after the cancer diagnosis.”
Doreen’s battle did not end there. Just one month after she finished her chemo treatments she underwent six weeks of radiation.
Although Doreen was one of twelve brothers and sisters (three of whom have had breast cancer) she decided to see a therapist after being diagnosed. Doreen was adamant that she did not want sympathy from others, which is how her family would have reacted. “It was great being able to get things out and talk about my cancer,” she said. The therapist started Doreen on guided imagery because she was having so many sleepless nights. This helped tremendously.
Along with the therapist and the staff at Henry Ford, Doreen was supported by others as well. Her daughter, an avid dancer, handled her mother’s diagnosis well.
“She never skipped a beat,” beamed Doreen. Her daughter has been dancing her whole life and the ‘dance moms’ would make them dinner and help with driving to and from class.
A few years after her diagnosis, she was referred to a one-on-one cancer support program for cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers. These one on one relationships offered Doreen hope and she has been involved with the program for more than 5 years.
“I sit down sometimes and think about how I got here and decided, faith got me through this.” Doreen claims that her faith in God was strengthen during her fight against cancer.
Advice to others:
Advice to caregivers and friends: