“You have cancer…”

“You have cancer…”

Lynda Juda is one of many women who has heard the phrase, “you have cancer”. Most often these words aren’t delivered in the comfort of a home or even with close friend nearby. Usually these words are uttered by medical staff within the walls of a an exam room. It can be a terrifying and lonely feeling. Lynda’s experience was different in that she didn’t feel alone with Rachel DeMarco and the other medical staff she encountered on this journey. She felt their sincere compassion and support from the beginning, which was a key factor in her ability to stay focused on what really mattered, and that was healing.

Knowing the battle she was up against, Lynda knew that she would need all the support she could summon on this journey to the unknown. Lynda is one of the strongest people I know, but she knew she had to be stronger during this time and that meant reaching out to friends, along with her church, to join her on this path of healing.

Lynda received support and prayers from her friends before her mammogram. When it came time for her scheduled biopsy, Lynda took her best friend Nancy as support. As I sat with Lynda, we spoke about the importance of having an advocate. These office visits can often be overwhelming as the patient is overcome with emotion, yet needing to make choices that could potentially have lifelong impacts. Linda and I agreed that it is important to bring an advocate for an extra set of eyes and ears. The advocate can even take notes,  allowing the patient to be present, along with the ability to digest the information and process it thoroughly before making any decisions.

Lynda is confident that her faith and support network allowed her to make it through this journey. Through biopsies, surgery and radiation, Lynda persevered, with her faith propelling her forward. Lynda was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2009 and had her lumpectomy in September 2009 as treatment was halted because Lynda became ill with Shingles and it was imperative that Lynda waited for her health to improve before having her surgery.

Dr. Karen Johnson treated Lynda  at Yale New Haven Hospital when it came time for surgery in September 2009. Lynda remembers the day of her surgery very clearly. It proved to be a very spiritual day for her as she was cared for by not one, but two nurses named Lynda. Being of Native American ancestry, Lynda has always carried her roots and her faith close to her. On the day of her surgery, Lynda remembers seeing a tomahawk in the doctor’s office. With the presence of her nurses and a symbol of her faith and heritage nearby, Lynda was ready for surgery.


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