Lisa Crowe, a 38-year-old mother of two, began scheduling mammograms every six months after developing frequent cysts for many years in her adult life.
About 14 years later in February 2018, Lisa received news that her scan results were of concern. Lisa, now age 52, followed through with a biopsy and was soon diagnosed with stage 1A breast cancer.
Since her cancer was microscopic and caught at an early stage, doctors explained that a mastectomy was not required. Instead, Lisa followed through with a lumpectomy at Northside Hospital Cherokee performed by breast surgeon Dr. Rhonda Wachsmuth, in March. Within the next 10 weeks Lisa had two additional lumpectomies to ensure clear margins.
In June 2018, Lisa chose to have a double mastectomy performed by Dr. Wachsmuth, to limit the likelihood that her cancer would return. Ahead of the surgery, Lisa found solace in speaking with friends who had been through similar procedures.
“For support, I met two ladies who also had double mastectomies. I counted on them, because they knew exactly what I was going through,” she said.
Lisa’s recovery process was much quicker than anticipated, and she was up and out on a family trip by mid-July 2018.
“It was more of an emotional recovery than a physical one for me,” Lisa said. “When I first heard the news I immediately thought the cancer would eat me up. But I relied on my faith, trusted my doctors and tried to put my fears aside to help me get through it.”
Now cancer free, Lisa is taking estrogen blockers for the next 10 years. She visits Dr. Gena Volas-Redd at Georgia Cancer Specialists, affiliated with Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, in Canton for follow up appointments every six months.
Most recently, Lisa participated in an art and health photo shoot program for survivors, hosted by the local nonprofit Feel Beautiful Today. After the photoshoot, Lisa began looking for more ways to share her story. She’s hopes her journey can be a source of encouragement for others fighting cancer. Her advice for others battling cancer: you’re not alone.
“Find someone who has been through the same situation as you and use them as support,” Lisa said. “And don’t be afraid to be honest with them. Cry, laugh and show your true emotions.”
*The health story shared here may portray atypical results of survival for this type of cancer, given its severity and stage. Atypical results are considered surviving a cancer that has less than a 50 percent five-year survival rate. Patients should consult an expert to discuss specific treatment plans and the possible outcomes before making medical decisions.