There is No Magic Wand - State and Federal Communications

February 4, 2016  •  

There is No Magic Wand

Elizabeth BartzI rarely take this column to speak about my health. It could be better, but there was a year it was worse. In 2006, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and it was a tough year. And, that is probably the nicest word to use for it.

Women usually hear if you can feel a pain, then it isn’t cancer.  Well, I had a pain and after two mammograms, an ultrasound, a MRI, and a biopsy, I was diagnosed with cancer, and it had gone to my lymph nodes. My surgeon, Dr. Julian Kim from the Cleveland Clinic (now at University Hospital) said cancer was the least of my problems … chemotherapy and radiation would take a lot out of me.

I took to cancer like I do a lot of things. Attacked it. Surgery was done within a month of the diagnosis. Chemotherapy, managed by my Cleveland Clinic oncologist, was done from March to June of 2006, along with losing all of my hair and wearing a wig, steroids prescribed for pain associated with Taxol, and sleeping a lot. Radiation was most of July 2006, which included a huge burn at the end of it all.

And, then it was all over. Cancer free. I still hold my breath a lot when I have mammograms, and I do have mammograms done annually. There is no magic wand to avoid a reoccurrence, but the possibility goes down after 10 years.

Everyone has issues and we do not know what people are dealing with in their lives. I bring this up to give you hope if you are dealing with health issues. Attack it. Don’t let it affect your spirit, the thing that makes you YOU. Please know in the last 10 years I have also spoken to a number of women in government affairs who have had breast cancer. It’s a club…one that we didn’t want to be a member of, but we are, and we need to be there for each other.

So now, 10 years later, I can cheer a little louder about being cancer free and celebrating with a short holiday in Punta Cana—just reflecting on how wonderful life has been.

Until next month, celebrate your life, enjoy your family and friends, and be YOU.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz

President and CEO


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