Breast Cancer Survivor Story for October Breast Cancer Awareness Month 

Oct 07
2009

A Shoulder to Lean On

“Hearing the word Cancer is a scary experience, but Shellie made me feel like I was never alone,” stated Teddi Ferda, a Chesterton resident, as she spoke to a room full of women at Methodist Hospitals’ Healthy Night Out with the Girls Event. There were tears throughout the room as Teddi recalled her experience of being told by her physician that she had an infiltrating ductile carcinoma in the right breast. “Hearing this diagnosis would never be good; however, having Shellie Rowe here to discuss the issue with was a blessing. She is knowledgeable, personable and compassionate. I realize that she does this everyday and sees many patients, however, she made me feel like no one else existed but me.”

Shellie Rowe is the Methodist Hospitals Breast Health Coordinator. “Patient’s minds are either racing or have gone numb,” Rowe said, “I’m here to help them navigate the system and stay on track.” Having had a biopsy herself 20 years ago, Rowe knows what patients face. The role of a Breast Health Coordinator is to be a support and resource for the patient, her family and help them understand and cope with the life changes and stress that accompany a breast disease diagnosis. “I discuss what the procedure entails. I arm them with information and questions to ask the doctor. And, if needed I’ll help them find a physician. I’ll do anything I can to make it easier on them.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States and, after lung cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The good news is breast cancer is highly treatable; over 90 percent of breast cancer patients survive when cancer is detected in the early stages and treatment is begun promptly. The American Cancer Society recommends that women start receiving yearly mammograms at the age of 40. Teddi is hoping her story will inspire other women to be proactive in their health and schedule a mammogram.

Since her diagnosis, Teddi has had a breast lumpectomy, lymph nodes removed and focused radiation treatment. She is pleased to report that her cancer is now in remission and did not spread to her lymph nodes. Teddi works in Chicago and several people have asked her why she did not go to Northwestern, University of Chicago or Rush, her reply is simple, “What more could they have done for me than what was done at Methodist?”

Attached are letters written by Teddi to Ian McFadden, CEO, Methodist Hospitals and Tony Jones, VP of Operations describing her experience at Methodist Hospitals. Click Here for Letters

To interview Teddi or Shellie please contact me at the contact information provided below.

Amber Raza
Marketing and Corporate Communications
P: 219.886.4474
F: 219.886.4592
E: araza@methodisthospitals.org

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