(Editor's Note: The Farmingdale Observer will be running profiles of local residents who will be taking part in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life fundraiser on May 6-7. This week's profile was submitted by Lucille Keating, a breast cancer survivor. Keating lives in South Farmingdale with her husband, Jim.)
Lucille Keating and her husband, Jim on vacation to Palermo, Italy last year.
In August 2002, I went for my routine mammography. Within hours my doctor called and said to make an appointment with a breast surgeon. Needless to say I was numb at first, I immediately made an appointment with the surgeon and he had me schedule a biopsy. Everyone said, don't worry, 90 percent of the time they are negative. I guess I was in denial, so in September off we went to California for vacation, with our friends Linda and Tony, for two weeks. Near the end of the vacation and as Jim and I were coming out of the San Diego Zoo I received a phone call from my son saying to call my doctor.
The doctor was going to be in his office until 8:30 p.m., and due to the time difference we had only a half hour to call him. Needless to say, trying to get a cab or get back on the tour bus was a hassle. We went flying into the hotel and up to our room, called the doctor, thank God he was still there. I asked him the results and he said when are you coming back. I said Friday night, he said fine come in then and we will discuss the results. Right there and then I knew the answer - well, I said to him, you just gave me my answer. I knew if it was negative, he would have said everything is fine enjoy the rest of your vacation.
I had my melt-down, called Linda and Tony (Linda is a nurse and had worked for hospice for many years) and told them the results, Linda said what do you want to do, go home, whatever decision you want, we are with you. I decided to stay for the rest of our vacation and go out for some comfort food, to me that is pasta at an Italian restaurant. In the meantime, my doctor set up an appointment with my breast surgeon for that Monday. Early Monday morning I was at the breast surgeon's office and we reviewed my biopsy, I was very lucky. Because of going for my yearly routine mammography exams, I had caught the breast cancer in its very early stages. I was scheduled for a lumpectomy in October which was successful.
My cancer was caught so early that my oncologist called it pre-cancer. Nevertheless, it was treated to the fullest. After surgery, I went through six weeks (five days a week) of radiation and continued check-ups with the breast surgeon, oncologist and had mammography's every six months.
Again, I am one of the lucky ones - this disease is now part of our family history. I can't stress the importance of early detection.
After finishing my radiation treatments, I was accidentally introduced to Relay for Life. Myself and my husband were Team Captains for a team for the First Relay - this May will be the third Relay for Life in the Farmingdale area. This year Relay will take place May 6-7 - it is an overnight fundraiser taking place at Farmingdale State University. Relay for Life is: A celebration. A community festival. A family event. A volunteer driven activity.
The Relay begins at dusk and ends the next morning. The light and darkness of the day and night parallel the physical effects, emotion, and mental state of a cancer patient while undergoing treatment.
We have set up a team with our family and friends who will participate in this very special event. We all know someone who has lost their fight against cancer or who is a survivor. This year we are personally again honoring the memory of Jim's mom, Mae Keating and my brother and sister-in-law John and Marge and are also honoring Jim's brother Frank and our friend Tony who have just gone through prostrate cancer treatments. As you know I was one of the lucky ones, my cancer was discovered early. This is one of the reasons we have decided to work on the Relay.
Last year the Farmingdale Relay for Life raised $120,000. If you want to experience a fun overnight gathering with family and friends - be a Team Captain.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or my husband at email@example.com for more information.