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Breast Cancer Team Clearly Explained Treatment

"I really like Dr. Wirsing, she explained everything. Dr. Hassan is easy to talk to and explained everything very carefully so that I understood." -- Mary Sedik, Gladwin

Retired teacher Mary Sedik, 64, of Gladwin appreciates education and a clear understanding of what to expect in life. That’s why Mary appreciates the breast health team at MidMichigan Medical Center in Midland. Mary was diagnosed last September with breast cancer and has had surgery and chemotherapy. After being very tired with chemotherapy, Mary is back to living and exercising again, but she does take rest time to cuddle with her four cats and to just enjoy living.

“Cancer runs in my family, both sides,” Mary said. “Lung, ovarian and breast cancer. My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer before me. Mary called me to say, ‘Get a mammogram.’“ Mary had been doing self-breast exams, but all she felt was a thickening. After a mammogram, her doctor, Monika Herdzik, M.D., felt the same thing and followed through by ordering an ultrasound.

That’s when Mary began working with the breast health team at the Center for Women’s Health at MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland. Radiologist Lindsay Zeeb, M.D., who specializes in breast and women’s imaging performed the ultrasound and a biopsy. “That’s when I saw the tumor,” Mary said. “I was surprised at how it looked.”

One hard telephone call for Mary was telling her 90-year-old mother that she had cancer after Mary's sister had been through the same diagnosis. “It was difficult, but I made sure that my brother was with her when I called her to tell her.” Mary was equipped to answer her mother’s questions.

Breast Surgeon Kelly Wirsing, M.D., was reassuring. “I really like Dr. Wirsing. She explains everything, and does additional tests that are needed,” Mary said. In early October, Mary had a double mastectomy. It went well. I liked the fact that it was in Midland, and the nurses were all very nice and helpful.”

Then after a lymph node was found to have cancer, Mary met Medical Oncologist Syed Hassan, M.D. Dr. Hassan prescribed chemotherapy. “I really like Dr. Hassan. He’s easy to talk to, and he explains everything very carefully so that I understand. Plus he’s funny, and he teases me in a nice way,” Mary said.

Mary said that she did not get sick from chemo but she had a reaction to the first treatment, so she recovered and started again. That meant that she lost her hair twice. “But it’s close to growing back to where it was before I started,” Mary said.

Mary Sedik, Breast Cancer Survivor

Cancer often affects family and friends, and their support can ease the treatment process. This was the case for Mary. After surgery and during chemotherapy, when she was tired, her husband, Allen of 40 years did the housework and the cooking. Mary talked to her sister for support every day, and her friends understood when her stamina was down. “I’ve got a lot of stamina now, and I’m even doing most of the housework. When I feel tired, I just sit down,” Mary said.

Mary has helped build her stamina by exercising. She started with 10 minutes on the recumbent bike and is now at six-and-a-half miles. That’s important because she’s going to need that stamina next summer when she and Allen visit their son and family in California. In the meantime, she’s happy to be home with her four cats. “They love me and when I am resting, they sleep with me. Of course they have an alternative; they want to be petted. They’re very cuddly.”

“I’m happy to just be living; hopefully it won’t come back.” Her parting message is for all women. Mary emphasizes, “Get those mammograms. And do the self-breast exams.”

 


 

Information about the Breast Health program at MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland is available at www.midmichigan.org/breast. Questions about breast health may be answered by calling the program at (989) 837-9070.

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