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Patient Stories- Adria

“If there is one thing my path lead me to, although difficult, is that I can help people going through this. If there’s anything I can do to make a person’s journey a little easier, I would like to do that.”

The first thing you notice when you meet Adria, is that she is full of life, feisty and strong. Her eyes sparkle and her smile is radiant. Adria has a strong sense of who she is and lives her life with purpose.

Adria’s mother was a breast cancer survivor, so Adria knew that having regular mammograms and staying healthy was important. When the Carol Milgard Breast Center was first opened her doctor referred her there and she was immediately impressed by how caring everyone was.

She Knew What It Meant to Be A Survivor
You’ll Find the Right People to Help You

“I knew I wanted to be involved somehow,” says Adria, “so I decided to volunteer. Many who come to the Center for the first time are scared and don’t know what to expect. Often English is their second language and communicating the importance of breast cancer screenings seems overwhelming. I knew I could help.”

Which is why in 2017 when Adria went for her routine screening and found out that she had breast cancer, she realized it was her turn to be scared.

“When you first receive your diagnosis it is definitely scary,” Adria explains, “you want it gone! There is this immediate sense of urgency. However, everyone was amazing. To deliver the diagnosis you must go up to the second floor. Even that was upsetting, but they are patient and kind, and explain to you step-by-step what to expect and who your doctor will be.”

However, after her initial diagnosis there were difficulties. When she had her biopsy, it was discovered that she had two tumors, and they were different – one more aggressive than the other.

“This is when things got complicated, and everything started to move too quickly,” Adria says. “Everyone is suddenly an expert and it all starts coming at you. If I could share one important piece of advice it would be to tell others in my situation, it’s OK, slow down, you’ll find the right people to help you.”

The doctors recommended that due to the locations of the two tumors, the best course of action for Adria was to have a mastectomy. The plan was for her plastic surgeon to insert an implant shortly after the mastectomy. The mastectomy went well, but due to undiagnosed infections, Adria had to have the implants removed twice on an emergency basis. This was too much for Adria, and she decided to discontinue any additional surgery so that her body could start to heal.

“The decision to stop with the reconstruction was the best decision I made. It was taking too much out of my life. I wanted to focus on regaining my health. I wanted to feel like myself again.”

Adria grew up in Seattle and went to the University of Washington. She received her degree in Elementary Education and eventually went on to receive her master’s degree in Education from the University of Puget Sound. She went to work for the Employment Security Department and subsequently the Department of Social and Health Services in Tacoma where she worked until she retired. Her last position before she retired, was to create the first adoption unit in Pierce County.

After Her Journey with Breast Cancer She Now Volunteers as Much as She Can

“If there is one thing my path lead me to, although difficult, is that I can help people going through this. If there’s anything I can do to make a person’s journey a little easier, I would like to do that.”

Adria now volunteers at Carol Milgard Breast Center and helps educate others about the importance of regular screenings and reminding those who have been diagnosed that life, family, and love are what will help you heal the most.

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