Patient Perspective: Carole Ann Webb

April 15, 2015. The fact that it was tax day was far from the worst thing about this afternoon.

“You have early stage breast cancer.” This news was certainly not what I expected to hear one week after my first ever mammogram. I had turned forty ten months before, and I had made a promise to myself to not turn forty-one before my initial screening. At first I was confused. Breast cancer didn’t run in my family. I was healthy, an active middle-aged (barely) woman who loved to go on long hikes and was just learning to mountain bike. Really? I had breast cancer?

After more tests, it appeared that a lumpectomy and seven weeks of radiation were to be my summer. Before my surgery, I headed out to California for a two-week vacation, taking on tough hiking challenges in the state’s many national parks. I knew it would be awhile before I felt like hiking again.

Two weeks after my surgery, I noticed that the painful swollen area under my left arm (where the sentinel node biopsy had been performed) persisted. I was diagnosed with a seroma, and during radiation, I noticed tightness and decreased range of motion in that left arm. I started physical therapy, but the feeling in my arm didn’t improve – in fact, it got worse. It was suggested that I see someone for a lymphedema assessment since my arm was definitely swollen, and I was continuing to experience pain.

It was as simple as googling “breast cancer rehabilitation Atlanta.” If I wasn’t hooked by the inviting TurningPoint website (which I was), then my first appointment sealed the deal. What a welcoming place! My therapy team Jill, Anita and Jyoti educated me and developed a complete treatment plan, The staff and volunteers always had a smile and a kind word to offer. I will be forever grateful for the excellent care I received. I felt that TurningPoint treated the whole me – my body and spirit felt revitalized after each visit. My lymphedema is stable at a low level and I know how to manage it myself and when to go back for reassessment – and I no longer have pain!

I wasn’t able to do most of the physical activities I enjoy for most of 2015. But 2016 is here, and I have taken up boxing! This new interest is going to get me in the best shape of my life, but I couldn’t have made it this far along in my journey without the care, wisdom, and genuine support I received from TurningPoint. I offer sincere thanks for making this chapter in my life so much easier to bear.