Soon after Veto, Ohio, resident Wanda Schaad was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, her life changed…for the better. In the middle of four chemotherapy treatments, 36 radiation appointments and a lumpectomy, Wanda gained a new grandchild and left a relationship that was causing her more stress, pain and hardship.
Wanda’s cancer journey began with a routine mammogram in August of 2016. She had skipped her screening the previous year because of insurance and financial reasons, and was put in touch with the Susan G. Komen Columbus®-funded program at the Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. Something showed up on the mammogram and an ultrasound and biopsy soon followed.
After her lumpectomy showed cancer in one of her lymph nodes, Wanda completed her treatment at the Strecker Cancer Center at Marietta Memorial Hospital and in the process, reconnected with many people from her past.
“Cancer has reconnected me with people I haven’t spoken to in years and it has also placed new people in my life. I have made so many new friends that I never would have had the chance to meet. I have so many new “sisters”, medical staff that are now friends, and total strangers who are now part of my life. I am so GRATEFUL to breast cancer. It got me out of a relationship that was only leading me to destruction. It has shown me love that I never knew existed. I am forever changed. I see life differently. Each day is a gift.”
Wanda was worried that fighting breast cancer as a single woman might mean she’d be alone in the battle, but instead found herself surrounded by love. Every day.
“My daughter and her husband moved in with me before I was diagnosed so they were there throughout my chemo treatments,” Wanda said. “There were people at my house every single day. I was surrounded by LOVE from so many people.”
Wanda also found comfort in her online community of family and friends.
“From the very beginning, I have shared my journey on Facebook. I asked people to pray each time I had to take another step. Each time I was faced with something else. And they prayed. They brought me gifts. They brought me ice cream when I couldn’t eat anything else. I was surrounded.”
Wanda’s positivity and support system helped her meet each challenge of her journey head on.
“Cancer shows no favoritism. It doesn’t care if you are rich or poor or young or old. It strikes out at everyone. I just want people to see that it is not always a death sentence. You can beat it. You cannot give up.”
If you or someone you know needs a mammogram and may be faced with financial difficulties, please check out our list of screening opportunities for one what will work for you. Join Wanda on October 15 in Athens.