May 5, 2017
Breast cancer has forever changed Jeanine Rosenboom’s life. Even after surviving treatment, Rosenboom continues to live with the effects of her double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation every day.
“I knew I would never be the same,” Rosenboom said. “But I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be than the Edith Sanford Breast Center.”
Jeanine’s journey started in late 2014. She received diagnoses of breast cancer and heart disease the same day.
On Dec. 30, 2014, Jeanine woke up in the middle of the night gasping for air. She had stopped breathing in her sleep and had no idea why.
The next day, she scheduled an appointment at Sanford Health Dickinson Clinic, where she works as a patient service specialist. Her doctors found a blockage in her left artery and two lumps in her right breast.
That January, Jeanine underwent heart surgery and the placement of two stents in her left artery. A month and a half later, she had a bilateral mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation.
Before going in for her second surgery she remembers her nurse, Audrey Nelson, calling her “princess” and singing Johnny Cash. That moment helped quell her fears.
“The care I received was just amazing,” Jeanine said. “I knew I was never going to be the same when I woke up, but she made me feel so good.”
Jeanine saw her caregivers pay special attention to her heart problems. She felt they focused on her overall health rather than just on her cancer cells.
“I just think all my doctors, nurses and caregivers were the best,” she said. “I didn’t have a single bad experience.”
Throughout her treatment, Jeanine was able to continue working through the flexibility of her co-workers and employers. She could reduce her hours to part-time, and during daily radiation treatment at Sanford Bismarck, Rosenboom was able to work in the Bismarck medical center.
“I just had an awesome support system at work,” Jeanine said.
After each stage in their treatment, cancer patients celebrate by ringing a bell and the words next to it have especially stuck with Jeanine: “Ring this bell / Three times well, / Its toll to clearly say / My treatment’s done, / This course is run, / And I’m on my way.”
She plans to get a tattoo of the bell with a pink ribbon to celebrate the end of her cancer journey. When other breast cancer patients and survivors see it, she hopes they will know they aren’t alone.
“If I could help one person through this it would be worth all the pain I’ve gone through,” Jeanine said.
The work at the Edith Sanford Breast Center gives Jeanine hope for the future and for the patients who will come after her. Jeanine knows her treatment was better than those who came before her and without many of the common side effects. But she sees the potential to ease treatment for future patients.
“If it would be cured, that would be amazing,” Jeanine said. “For me, it would mean not having to go through chemo, not having to lose your breasts, not having to lose your hair and your fingernails.”
Thanks to expanded health care services in western North Dakota, Rosenboom was able to receive all of her treatment at Sanford Health including chemotherapy sessions and checkups in her hometown of Dickinson.
Help find the cures. Faster.
Every gift to the Edith Sanford Breast Foundation supports care for patients like Rosenboom, and cutting-edge research to end breast cancer for future generations. Give today.