Regular screenings make early detection possible for Carolyn
For years, Carolyn Welcelean has made a point to see physicians on a regular basis for her check-ups and screenings. This dedication to what she calls a “really strong regimen” may have saved her life.
In March, Carolyn had a routine ultrasound to screen for breast cancer. The following week, the staff in the Kettering Breast Evaluation Center at Soin Medical Center asked her to return for a biopsy.
“I think when they did the biopsy, that’s when I knew I had breast cancer,” she says. “But it was at such an early stage that it was probably no bigger than the head of an eraser.”
When breast cancer is found early, there is a better chance that the treatment will be effective, according to the National Cancer Institute. The following month, Carolyn had a lumpectomy—a surgery where the physician removes the cancer and a small part of the surrounding tissue, but not the breast itself. This was a different procedure than what she originally planned, but after learning more about her options, she worked with the physicians to create a plan to meet her needs.
“They were very agreeable to making it what was most comfortable for me,” she says.
Surgery was followed by radiation treatments in May at Soin Medical Center, where she was the first scheduled patient to receive treatments at the hospital’s new radiation therapy center. Receiving treatment at Soin Medical Center had special meaning to Carolyn, a previous volunteer at the hospital’s cancer center and current employee in the hospital’s Patient Registration Department.
“They’re extremely people-oriented and friendly, and make you feel very comfortable,” she says. “Having a place where it’s all in one area makes it so much easier for both the family and the patient, and it is such a blessing for so many people around here that do have cancer.”
A positive perspective
Carolyn has always felt the need to give back, and her attitude during this experience was no different.
“I was one of the very first volunteers up at the cancer center because my husband had passed away from cancer, and I wanted to be able to give back not only to the patients but also the family,” she says. “I’m just a little pebble in a big pond, but this little pebble likes to help other people.”
She feels that she went through this experience not for herself, but to be able to help others who are going through it, especially the family of patients. She remembers talking to a man who was meeting his wife at the hospital before her treatment.
“We were able to talk, and for me, it was about making him feel that she was going to be ok,” she says.
Through it all, Carolyn maintained a positive outlook—something she says is essential when going through challenges.
“It was the hiccup in the chapter of my spring,” she says. “Sounds kind of silly, but you know, this is not what I had planned for the spring. And then you realize, what do you want to do with this circumstance in your life? Do you want to treat it as the cup being empty, or as the cup being half full? I took all full.”
Making the time
Carolyn’s takeaway from her treatment: keep up with regular screenings and appointments, because “no one can always dodge the bullet.”
“It’s very important to take care of your health,” she says. “You can let it go really easy and just not think about it, but it’s not going to go away.”
Call to action:
MAKE YOUR HEALTH A PRIORITY
Schedule a mammogram today by calling Kettering Breast Evaluation Centers at 1-800-373-2160 or request an appointment