Breast Cancer Journey

At 78 years old Mary Schneider chooses to smile, even during the worst of times. 

While on her annual trip to Arizona with her husband, Mary had a slight mishap while handling her luggage. She assumed the tenderness she was noticing on her breast was related to that incident but the lump that remained gave her cause for concern, prompting her to return to Green Bay earlier than normal.

After meeting with her primary care doctor, Mary’s suspicions were confirmed as she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“The first thing that I thought about, was thank God, thank God, it's not my daughter, it's not my daughters-in-law, and it's not my grandchildren,” said Schneider.

That is when Aurora BayCares’ Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic stepped in. She credits the entire team for their upfront and honest communication. This approach allowed her to process the information she was receiving so that she could make an informed decision about her treatment plan.

Mary especially appreciated Dr. William Owens, director of Aurora BayCare Medical Center’s Comprehensive Breast Care Center, and his ability to answer her questions and explain everything so that she and her family could fully understand. Mary would also like to thank her Nurse Navigator, Diane Haszel as well as nurse Nan. Their care and support throughout this journey allowed her to tackle this with light-hearted humor.

 “You have to have a positive attitude. If you don't you're beating yourself and that is one of the big things,” said Schneider. She said humor is the best medicine, even for a double mastectomy.

“I said to him, as long as you're in there, if you could take the spare tire and suck that out and the stomach, that would be very nice because, there's nothing going to be hiding anything,” said Schneider.

Post-surgery she wanted to make others smile. Today, she's cancer free and urges others not to be afraid and not wait for October to get a breast cancer screening.

Of working with her providers, Scheider says, “Make sure you ask them questions. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘Tell me the truth.” 

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