Shirl Marion was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma on December 2, 2011, at just 47 years old.
She had a mammogram coming up and decided to perform a self exam at home. That’s when she found the lump … and the worst part was that the lump was under the arm and painful. She visited with Dr. Chappell and Dr. Dara Gibson, who told her to go to the ER where they performed a CT scan. She was admitted into the hospital where she was told the news: yes, it was cancerous.
She was given the option of either a lumpectomy or mastectomy. “I spoke with my husband and we decided to have them take the entire breast,” said Marion. “They treated me so well, they gave me all the options and they spoke to me with respect and encouragement.”
Following her mastectomy, Dr. Ogundipe and Vicky Portwood, RN, MSN, OCN, Director of Cancer Services, met with Marion to talk about the next steps. “I would recommend CRMC’s cancer team to anyone, from Dr. Ogundipe and Vicky Portwood to Dr. Uy and the entire staff,” she said. “I had the right to be scared, but they encouraged me to work through this and told me they would help me become cancer-free.”
It took Marion a while to adjust to the loss of her breast, but had an uplifting moment when Vicky Portwood and Dr. Ogundipe helped her to find a mastectomy bra. “They are my heroes,” said Marion. “Vicky helped me to try on the bra — they saw me through the entire cancer process, from start to finish and made it so much easier for me.”
With a positive outlook for the future and healing to look forward to, Marion began her treatments. Today, she continues her follow-up appointments with Dr. Ogundipe on a yearly basis, with mammograms every six months.
Her advice to anyone going through a similar struggle is to keep faith. “Just believe in God and keep faith in the doctors treating you — they can help you and they will,” said Marion, “as long as you have the support from friends and family you can make it through this.”
It was that advice and support that helped her own mother, Shirley Pearson, make it through a similar battle with breast cancer. “We were the support for one another,” said Marion. Pearson recently finished her last treatment at CRMC in early September.