Doctors found Trudy Paddack’s breast cancer with a mammogram in 2009 at age 56. In the years before, a history of dense breast tissue led Trudy to have frequent mammograms and other tests to watch suspicious areas. Back then, mammography equipment couldn’t see through dense breast tissue. After months of frequent screenings and no definitive results, Trudy […]
Doctors found Trudy Paddack’s breast cancer with a mammogram in 2009 at age 56. In the years before, a history of dense breast tissue led Trudy to have frequent mammograms and other tests to watch suspicious areas. Back then, mammography equipment couldn’t see through dense breast tissue. After months of frequent screenings and no definitive results, Trudy became less diligent, and a year passed without a mammogram.
“I got busy, and it almost cost me my life,” Trudy said. “We are mothers and daughters, and we have to take time for ourselves.” A mammogram found breast cancer in Trudy’s mom, Ellen, at age 72.
Thankfully, digital mammography became available and physicians detected Trudy’s tumor.
Although only one breast was affected, Trudy still chose a double mastectomy for peace of mind. A surgery nurse at the time, Trudy laughed when she remembered her doctor telling her, “Act like a patient and not a nurse.”
Trudy did chemotherapy, radiation and Herceptin® injections for 1½ years and is now in remission. But, reminders remain.
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Those words bring Trudy comfort as she reflects on her journey with breast cancer.
Years of taking Tamoxifin affected Trudy’s urinary system. At the urging of her oncologist, Trudy visited Physical Therapist Sara Anderson, PT, DPT, at the NKCH’s Cancer Rehab and Wellness Center. In conversation with Sara, Trudy learned she also had lymphedema or swelling in her extremities.
Sara suggested Trudy see Mary Calys, PT, DPT, the center’s coordinator, for treatment of lymphedema and painful scar tissue caused by surgery and radiation. Through exercise and other treatments, Mary helped Trudy find relief and live life more comfortably.
As she fought cancer one hurdle at a time, Trudy never gave up. She said, “If you let cancer control you and you live in fear every day, then the disease wins. I am never going to let that happen.”
Trudy urges women and men to be aware of their breast health and talk with their physician. Breast cancer is not limited to women. About 2,470 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in the United States in 2017. For more information about breast cancer, go to nkch.org/cancerfacts.
Mammograms Save Lives