This October during Breast Cancer Awareness month, Hattie Heard is sharing her cancer journey and encouraging women to get their annual mammograms.
In 2019 Hattie was a healthy, active 56-year-old. She exercised, saw her doctor for regular check-ups, and had annual mammograms. Despite feeling fine, Hattie started to notice some discharge from her right breast. At first, she ignored it. But after a few months, she made an appointment with her primary care physician, Christina Eliason, MD, with Olathe Health Family Medicine – Mur Len. Dr. Eliason sent Hattie to the Olathe Health Pavilion to get a mammogram.
Soon after, Hattie was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer.
“The doctor asked me where I wanted to go for my cancer care, and I chose Olathe,” Hattie said. “I knew they had the new cancer center and the Pavilion, and it’s close to home. Easy choice.”
Hattie met with David Lee, MD, an Olathe Health medical oncologist, who talked through the treatment plan, set up appointments and introduced Hattie to her nurse navigator. She started chemotherapy in December 2019.
“Chemo was the hardest, I have to admit,” Hattie said. “Thankfully I had my support system; my family was with me the whole way. My social worker checked on me during treatments, and the nurses and doctors felt like family because of their concern and made sure I had everything I needed.”
After completing chemotherapy, Craig Anderson, MD, of Olathe Health Midwest Surgical Associates performed a lumpectomy to remove cancer from Hattie’s breast. Hattie then completed four weeks of radiation therapy at the Olathe Health Cancer Center, led by Kelly Rhodes-Stark, MD, a radiation oncologist.
Hattie’s nurse navigator kept in close communication with her throughout her treatment and helped her get urgent care when her potassium levels dropped significantly.
On July 17, 2020, Hattie rang the bell in the Olathe Health Cancer Center to mark her graduation from radiation.
“Believe me, I rang that bell as loud and as long as I could!” Hattie laughed.
As a breast cancer survivor, Hattie believes she has a responsibility to share her experience with others, bring awareness about symptoms and provide hope to others fighting the disease.
“I was in denial right after my diagnosis,” Hattie said. “Once I accepted it, I stayed focused and avoided saying ‘why me?’—because why not me? It’s not easy, but I came through it with the help of the Lord, and I want to serve as a testimony of hope for others.”
Early detection is the best protection. Schedule your mammogram today.
If you haven’t scheduled your annual mammogram, or put it off this year because of COVID, it’s time to get back on track. Seeing a provider is safe, and the best defense against breast cancer is early detection. Our experienced teams, including fellowship-trained breast radiologists, employ the very latest mammography tools, and our imaging suites were designed with your comfort in mind.
- Olathe Health Pavilion, 913-791-4395
- Miami County Medical Center, 913-294-6611
Saturday appointments in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
Some warning signs of breast cancer include:
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit)
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
Breast Cancer Resources
Olathe Health offers cancer resources for people who have cancer. If you are looking for a cancer specialist or need a second opinion, you can find physicians specializing in breast cancer care by searching here.