“Every spring I look forward to planting seeds, nurturing the plants and enjoying the healthy harvest from our backyard organic garden with my family.”
I’ve always been a healthy eater, and my husband and I have enjoyed teaching our kids about the importance of respecting and preserving our environment. Each spring, we enjoy a family ritual of planting a backyard garden full of healthy vegetables and fruits. At the start of this year, however, my focus turned to preserving my own health.
On January 14th of this year, I listened to a presentation that would change, and ultimately save, my life. As a volunteer for the Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital Women’s Health Advisory Council (WHAC), I attended a monthly meeting where I learned about the Center’s capabilities and the merits of digital mammography, which is more effective than regular mammography in the detection of breast cancer.
As I sat in the audience, I realized I was eight months past due for my next mammogram. Instead of going to my previous imaging provider, where older technology was used, I opted to schedule a next-day digital mammogram at Lake Forest. The results from my scan were “suspicious” and led to more testing. Within eight short days—and many supportive phone calls —I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), a non-invasive cancer. After this diagnosis, a breast MRI was done before surgical planning. The MRI showed that the breast cancer was far more extensive than the mammogram revealed. I needed a mastectomy. I met with surgeons from larger teaching hospitals but ultimately chose Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. My team spent the most time with me, took a personal interest in my situation, had boundless energy and was extremely skilled and meticulous. I couldn’t have made a better choice.
Looking back, I feel very fortunate that I joined the WHAC and heard such a compelling presentation. If I hadn’t, I still might not have scheduled my mammogram. My only disappointment is that I didn’t select Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital for my previous mammograms.
Today, just weeks post-surgery, I’m grateful that my cancer was caught early. As I get back into the swing of my life, my priorities are enjoying my family and planning our spring garden.
Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital is dedicated to bringing state-of-the-art screening and diagnostic equipment to its patients. In fact, our comprehensive breast care program is one of the best in the Chicago area. We combine the latest diagnostic technologies—including digital mammography, breast ultrasound, breast MRI and multimodality imaging guided needle biopsies—with leading-edge surgical, radiation and chemotherapeautic treatments to ensure the best outcomes for our patients. In addition to having technology that is equivalent to, if not better than, major centers around the world, our compassionate environment really makes a difference in the lives of the women we serve. In addition to breast imaging services, our facilities provide comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic imaging services, including CAT scanner, MRI, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, x-ray, echocardiograms, PET/CT, digital mammography and radiation therapy.