Three survivors share their breast cancer stories
December 7, 2022
Three ProHealth employees share their personal stories of how annual checks helped them find breast cancer early and fight it.
Correne Boucher, MD
It's been 10 years since Dr. Correne Boucher of Middlesex Pediatric Associates found out she had breast cancer. But to her, it feels like it happened more recently.
"In some ways it feels like yesterday," Dr. Boucher said. "You get to a point where it is easier to deal with. It becomes part of your life story."
Dr. Boucher's breast cancer was found after a routine mammogram (breast X-ray). "I was just so surprised," she said. "I have zero family history of breast cancer."
After the mammogram, Dr. Boucher had a biopsy (when a sample of tissue is taken from the body and tested). There were a few days between the biopsy and her doctor confirming she had breast cancer. Those days were filled with anxiety.
Dr. Boucher found some comfort after meeting with her surgeon. "I finally felt that I could breathe," Dr. Boucher said. "The surgeon went over the biopsy results, and we made a plan. Having a plan of attack made all the difference."
Her message is simple: Get your mammogram every year. Finding breast cancer early makes a big difference.
And if you do find out you have breast cancer, know that there's a community of family, friends and even strangers that will step up to help you.
"My Scottish Granny always told me that people are like tea bags," Dr. Boucher said. "The longer we are in hot water the stronger we get! She is so very right. I do feel stronger in so many ways and more grateful every day."
LuAnne Armstrong, Practice Manager
LuAnne Armstrong of Avon Primary Care cannot stress enough the importance of annual mammograms. It was during one that doctors found she had breast cancer
"If I hadn’t gone to my yearly mammogram, they would have never found the tumor," Armstrong said. "It was deep and not palpable."
A tumor that isn't palpable means there's a cancerous growth that can't be felt by human touch, such as a lump in the breast.
After being told she had breast cancer, Armstrong went through a scary and confusing time. Fortunately, she had a great support system.
"I let family and friends help in any way they wanted," Armstrong said. "I learned how to accept their help and support. It was hard, but they made it easier to get through the diagnosis."
Armstrong claims that maintaining a positive attitude and following all her doctors' orders were key in her recovery. As of this December, she'll be seven years cancer-free.
Heading to her yearly mammogram still causes some anxiety. But she continues to go because she knows it can save a life. It saved her life.
Jodi Roderick, Medical Office Associate
Jodi Roderick of ProHealth Hearing & Balance was told she had cancer at a time when she was feeling better than ever.
"I was in the gym with two different trainers, doing five sessions a week," she said. "I was training for the Hartford Half Marathon."
She found a lump in her left breast, near the armpit. "I remember thinking maybe I bumped into something at the gym," Roderick said. "I simply let it be for about three weeks or so."
The phone call telling her she had breast cancer came at the end of a workday. She was told she was positive for triple+ ductal carcinoma and carried the BRCA2 gene. People with the BRCA2 gene have greater chances of getting some kinds of cancer.
Through tears, she thought of how this disease would affect her adult children. She was especially worried about her critically ill daughter, who is fully dependent on the family for care.
"I said to myself 'I don't have time for this ugly C word in my life...My Nikki needs me here," Roderick said. "I will be able to push through anything life may bring me, through surgeries and chemotherapy."
In reflection, Roderick believes she came out of going through breast cancer stronger than she ever thought possible.
The importance of mammograms
Talk to your doctor to learn more about mammograms and getting screened for breast cancer.