In this video Gene Glave talks about her breast cancer diagnosis and the decisions she faced.
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Gene Glave 1+ year Cancer Survivor ....being diagnosed with cancer. Gene Glave: Well, it was particularly difficult for me, because I had given these drugs to children with leukemia and the same drugs are used for breast cancer. The first two of what we would use for leukemia. When I was actually diagnosed, I was hoping I won't have to have chemo and I truly went into a big phase of denial, because there was no spread to my lymph nodes on the lumpectomy. But the margins weren't clear, which meant that there were cancer cells all the way through the lumpectomy. I knew I was going to go have to lose my breasts, because of the odd type of the cancer cells it was. It was very, very rare. So I was -- I knew that; that was going to have to happen. Of course, all my nursing kicks in and I weight -- okay, lose the breast or have the chemo. Well, I am more sure to lose the breast and then we could get a new one. But when I found out that -- in breast cancer you can have estrogen receptor positive tumors, which is probably 95% of the tumors which means that you can take a drug by mouth. For five years not have to have any chemo, because it will work right -- go right to that estrogen receptor positive cell. As long as you didn't have any node involvement that's usually the course. So I figured I am going to hit within the 90% to 95%, of course I am. And I didn't have any nodes involved. So the hardest thing for me was accepting that I was going to have to have chemo. Everyone seemed to know it but me. I did a really wonderful job of fooling myself. So when my oncologist strongly recommended that I have chemo and then other people who I know very well also recommended that I have chemo. Then I knew that I should have it. The thought of losing my hair which sounds so vain and I don't consider myself a vain person. But the thought of losing my hair horrified me. It's such a body part, I mean I already lost a boob, come on. Let me have my hair. Because when you describe somebody, okay, they are dark hair or they are short and they have long curly hair. That was how -- it's an identifier. So that was really hard. I knew I was going to lose it. I am going to -- maybe you won't. I gave these drugs. I gave these drugs to children. I watched them go bald. I mourned with them for them for their hair and then I knew I was going to have to do the same thing. ...making decisions on treatments. Gene Glave: They're difficult. There are people who choose not to take chemotherapy. I mean that was my choice, but I also had done quite a bit of research on it immediately when I was diagnosed and I talked to a couple of friends who actually work in cancer centers and my sister works for -- she stages cancer in that department. So she of course was on the phone to her cohorts in Virginia. So when he told me that and I was just destroyed, but I knew it was the right thing to do, but it was not an easy decision to make, but you always have choices. You can say no. I really want to have this long life as I can and I knew that; that was going to help me have it. And plus five years from now had I said, no, and it comes back, I am going to say, oh, man, I wish I had had the chemo. I don't ever want to have to look back and regret. I want to make a decision and believe it's the right one.