September 26, 2018
Sandy Dunn is most comfortable with a plan of action and inspiring, supportive people around her. That’s what she found at the Edith Sanford Breast Center at Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center when she was diagnosed with breast cancer not once – but twice.
“I would place my trust in Roger Maris and my wonderful oncologist, Dr. Shelby Terstriep, and all the other wonderful professionals working there,” Dunn said. “I did not read books about cancer and I did not Google about cancer. I just trusted.”
Dunn was first diagnosed in 2008. She was 45 and juggling a full-time job, a household and her three children.
“My youngest was getting ready to graduate from high school and I was working at a company I had been with for many years,” she said. “Life was good!”
Fatigue tried to slow her down, which prompted her doctor to order a series of tests including a mammogram. The next day, Dunn was surprised to find a lump in her right breast.
Next came an ultrasound, biopsy and “the Phone Call.”
“My first reaction, I was annoyed that I was getting called at work with this news. How is that for denial!?” Dunn said. “After the diagnosis, I started ‘living’ at Roger Maris.”
More tests and more doctor appointments followed.
“Through lots of emotional and mental confusion, it was made clear from day one of my diagnosis that I was already a survivor,” Dunn said. “So I grabbed onto that word and I ran with it.”
She put all her trust and faith in her caregivers at Roger Maris. She also continued to live her life to the fullest so she wouldn’t dwell on the chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
“I spent lots of time with friends and family laughing. I danced a lot, and the day before my hair fell out, I went and bought myself a new car,” she said.
Dunn embraced life every day through her treatments, while in remission for a year and a half, and even when breast cancer returned in February 2010.
She followed a similar treatment plan, and counted all her blessings, including the wonderful team still at Roger Maris. She gets emotional simply walking through the front door.
“I was so thankful because I knew all the help I would need was just behind those doors,” she said. “And I, once again, had the best oncologist taking care of me (Dr. Terstriep). I may be slightly prejudiced on that topic; after all, she did after all save my life.”
Today, Dunn is feeling better than ever and cancer-free again.
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