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Long-Haul Survivor

Patient with breast cancer keeps on trucking

Fall 2011 - Long-haul Survivor
Sandi runs a trucking business with her husband, Doug, while keeping up with her niece, Lexi, and the rest of her family.

Two weeks before she was scheduled for her routine annual mammogram in September 2009, Sandi Bradbury discovered a lump in her right breast.

“It surprises you; that’s for sure,” says Sandi, a Liberty Township resident who helps operate a family business, Bradco Trucking, in Monroe. “You don’t think it can happen to you. But then you do what needs to be done.”

This grandmother of five boys saw her family doctor right away, and he told her that the mass was “very tiny.”

A diagnostic mammogram at The Wilbur & Mary Jean Cohen Women’s Center at Atrium Medical Center revealed a two-centimeter mass. Sandi met with Hugh Hawkins, MD, medical director of Breast Imaging Services at the center, to learn the next steps.

“I love that man,” Sandi admits. “He is so kind and can explain things in easy-tounderstand language.”

A biopsy was performed within a week, and the results showed that the tumor was cancerous.

Action Plan

Sandi was impressed with how an entire team of people at Atrium came together to formulate a plan to increase her chances of becoming a cancer survivor.

“I was given information, options and recommendations,” she says. “I always knew what was going on.”

The first step was a lumpectomy, performed as outpatient surgery at Atrium’s Ann and Arthur Bidwell Surgery Center. The entire Bradbury family, including Sandi’s husband, Doug, was overjoyed to learn the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes.

Both chemotherapy and radiation were recommended to prevent a recurrence, based on Sandi’s particular medical profile.

“Treatment for breast cancer has become very individualized now,” says Mridula Reddy, MD, medical oncologist at Atrium. “Based on the type of tumor Sandi had, I advised her that she would benefit from chemotherapy. In her case, chemotherapy would increase survival and decrease the risk of the cancer returning.”

Dr. Reddy recommended four cycles of chemotherapy, which Sandi completed in a three-and-a-half month period. Sandi knew that losing her hair was a likely side effect.

Fall 2011 - Reddy HS
Mridula Reddy, MD
Medical Oncologist
  Fall 2011 - Steinmetz HS
Ryan D. Steinmetz, MD
Radiation Oncologist

“Taking a shower was hard, finding my hair coming out,” she remembers all too well. “I just decided to shave my head, and you know what? My husband and son shaved their heads. That level of support makes a difference.”

Radiation therapy was another weapon in the fight to keep Sandi cancer-free. Under the direction of Ryan D. Steinmetz, MD, radiation oncologist at Atrium, Sandi had radiation treatments over a six-week period at The Compton Center on Atrium’s campus.

“People used to think they had to travel for the best in radiation,” Dr. Steinmetz points out. “But since a big investment was made to build Atrium Medical Center for this community, we offer cancer treatment options found at the nation’s leading
hospitals.”

Dr. Steinmetz adds that new treatments allow radiation to focus on the tumor itself and limit exposure to surrounding organs. Throughout her treatments, Sandi never missed a day of work. She earned a reputation at Atrium for her positive attitude — but she’s quick to say much of it was because of the people she encountered.

“Every step along the way, I met wonderful doctors, nurses, technicians and other patients,” Sandi says. “Even just a hospital person passing through an area would be friendly to me. Being surrounded by kindness puts you in a better mood to keep going.”

She has high praise for Atrium’s breast care coordinator, Phyllis Rudokas, RN. “Not only did Phyllis coordinate appointments and make sure I knew what the steps were, but she also kept me from getting overwhelmed,” Sandi says. “She was with me for appointments and to get treatments started. She held my hand in more ways than one.”

She’s One in 2.5 Million

According to the American Cancer Society, Sandi is one of more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. She has regular checkups and follows a hormone-manipulation medication plan to ensure she stays in that happy group for the long haul.

She’s also one in a million to her family, including son Greg, daughters Lisa and Michelle, and stepdaughters Sarah and Brooke.

Now age 64, this energetic grandma has found herself with a new role, recently assuming custody of Lexi, her 13-year old niece. “Lexi doesn’t let me be a couch potato,” she says with her hearty laugh. “And neither do my five grandsons.”

Sandi may be busy, but she has time to reflect on her battle with cancer.

“Could I have done it without my family and without my church family at Oasis in Middletown? It would have been hard,” she says emphatically. “And I know I couldn’t have done it without my talented and supportive team at Atrium.”

For a virtual tour of The Compton Center and to learn more about cancer treatment options at Atrium, visit us online.

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