In Her Own Words...A Breast Cancer Survivor's Story
My name is Diane Carroll. I am a wife to my husband, Dan; a mother to my two children - Luke, age 18, and Lisa, age 14, both of whom attend Dubuque Senior High School. I am the daughter of Clete and Lavonne Kaiser; a sister to Deb Redmond and Steve Kaiser. I'm an aunt, godmother, sister-in-law, niece, friend and manager at Dubuque Internal Medicine. I am also proud to say I am a breast cancer survivor.
On December 23, 2009, just two days before the Christmas holiday, it was determined - after a routine mammogram, followed up by an ultrasound, biopsy, and finally, surgery - that I had stage two breast cancer. I was 39 years old.
In order to recover from surgery, I took two weeks off from work to heal. I was determined to beat breast cancer, and regain control of my health. My treatment plan consisted of chemotherapy, which occurred every three weeks for six treatments. After successfully completing chemotherapy, my next round of fighting began with multiple weeks of radiation therapy. I completed a series of thirty treatments, Monday through Friday, same time every day. For six weeks, I spent my lunch break at UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital Wendt Regional Cancer Center where the staff became more than my health care team - we fought my cancer together, and became friends.
Today - I continue to see my health care team, schedule regular mammograms, and take a daily medication due to the type of chemotherapy required for my diagnosis. On top of the great health care I received, having the best family, friends, and medical team on my side is what really helped me through my journey. I have been able to cope with my cancer experiences by sharing my joys, sorrows, and fears with others and am a strong survivor today because of this. I thank my health care team at Dubuque Internal Medicine and Finley Hospital, as well as my family and friends for their support throughout my journey. In honor of the many possibilities and ways that family and good health care can help you not only fight cancer, but give you your life back - thank you for the opportunity to share my story tonight in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.