Kemosabe is a term or a catchphrase from an American classic, the Lone Ranger. It’s a term of endearment that refers to a faithful friend. CHEMOsabe, as Diane likes to call it… well this refers to her faithful friends and family.
Diane was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005 which then spread to her brain. She survived three gamma knives, even after a trip to the ICU where doctors said she may only have a 10 chance to live.
Seven years after she was cleared of the first cancers she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At first it looked like she could simply have a lumpectomy to get rid of it but after some more investigating by her doctors they realized the cancerous cells had accumulated to a 5.7cm lump! Since she was also gene positive she knew she’d have to go with a full mastectomy.
That’s when she began coming to our office as her breast surgeon, Dr. Brown suggested she visit Dr. Stefani. When he met Diane he described her history as “interesting” with all this patient has gone through. Her husband, Dennis, came to many appointments with a pen and notebook eager to hear what her next steps were. To rebuild her breasts Diane chose to have breast reconstruction with expanders. These expansions help prepare the skin, muscles and tissue for future implants. Dr. Stefani also performed fat grafting to help with symmetry. Breast reconstruction can be a lengthy process but our surgeons strive to provide the best symmetry possible.
There’s more… during her breast cancer fight, there were also cells found in her ovaries. Once they took these cells out, her doctors found that this cancer was extremely fast growing and it was a blessing in disguise that her ovaries were removed.
With cancer, surgeries, medications and treatments, patients are often left with headaches, numbness, weakness, nausea and a laundry list of other side effects. It’s often said that if you don’t have a positive, fighting mentality these symptoms can get the best of you. How did she do it? Faith and a wonderful support system.
In the beginning, Diane thought she should go at it alone. She knew she was a fighter and began taking charge, attending appointments and keeping on track. On one of her drives she started to get anxiety attacks thinking about all of the health issues she was combating. From then on she realized, ‘I don’t have to do this alone’, a warrior is much stronger with an army!
Dennis came to appointments, making notes and spreadsheets, documenting her progress and prescriptions. Her daughters Alison and Gabriella are always checking up on her even though they live out of state. And her friends – these lovely women came and drove her to appointments, provided additional emotional support, and never gave up. The time, love and help these people have given Diane is amazing. Our whole office can just see the light shining in her eyes! Faithful friends and family can mean the world when you are fighting for your life, it’s so important to stay positive during these times and Diane & her ChemoSabes have done just that.
Diane and her friends were here last week celebrating her life – and successful fights against cancer. The joy and friendship you can see between these girls is truly a blessing. Diane – you are not a lone ranger; you are a rock star and we are proud to support you on your journey to being cancer free!
Diane and her friends enjoying a spa day before a surprise limo ride to lunch!
On a final note we would like to thank Dennis, Alison and Gabriella for loving and supporting your wife and mother. Special shout out to the remainder of her ChemoSabe team: Marla, Debbie, Judy, Margie, Michele, Rosanne and Jill. You ladies are a demonstration of true friendship!!
A little extra from us!