Come October, breast cancer awareness falls low on the list of things of things busy college students are thinking about. But for the Lambert family, those diagnosed with breast cancer are always at the forefront of their minds.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international health campaign by breast cancer charities to increase awareness and raise funds for a cure to the disease that Trish Lambert was diagnosed with in 2014.
Trish had a routine test in 2014 that uncovered the cancer.
“I sort of had an inkling that would be the news, but it still doesn’t prepare you,” she said. “I thought, you know, I was super healthy, and this shouldn’t happen to me.”
What is widely acknowledged as among the most curable forms of cancer still takes the lives of many. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women this year alone. The diagnosis will be fatal for about 40,920 women in 2018.
“I immediately thought I was going to die,” Trish said, “and then I thought about my kids.”
Aaron was fearful for his family’s future after receiving the news about his mother.
“I was afraid that she wouldn’t make it,” he said.
Catrina Lambert, a high school senior and Trish’s second child, said, “[We] wondered what we were going to do without my mom.”
Craig Lambert, Trish’s husband, didn’t want to think about what he would do without his longtime sidekick.
“I tried to prevent my thoughts from straying down the black hole of craziness,” he said.
To the relief of the entire Lambert family, Trish is now in remission, but the path leading to her remission was a long and grueling one.
After the routine mammogram that led to her diagnosis, she received a needle biopsy to examine the affected area. Following another mammogram and a multitude of other procedures, including a mastectomy, Trish had a separate surgical procedure to insert an expander under the chest muscle, designed to create a space for the breast implant during reconstruction. After all that, Trish had reconstructive surgery.
The process was long, and Trish still has to take daily medication. Even so, she is overjoyed to be in remission and doesn’t mind the daily medication prescription at all. When it comes to her prognosis, things are looking up.
“Now we’re four years out, and I actually just this week went to my last visit with a cancer doctor,” Trish said. “He said that it’s completely gone and it won’t recur.”
The Lambert family is aware that they are among the lucky ones — not everyone reaches remission. Fortunately, cancer researchers continue to uncover ways to enhance genomic testing, which is the study of the interaction of certain genes in your body that aid in the early identification of breast cancer.
“One in eight women will be affected by breast cancer at some point during their lifetime,” said Dr. Fiona Denham, a breast surgical oncologist at the Goshen Women’s Retreat. “If we can detect cancers when they’re smaller and at earlier stages, [women] can live very long, happy lives with their loved ones.”
The Lambert family is grateful for a month dedicated to making people more aware about the disease that has profoundly impacted their lives.
Today, Trish wears a “I Beat Breast Cancer” button with pride, and she heavily values the month of October as well.
“Breast Cancer Awareness Month means to me a celebration for people like me who have survived,” Trish said. “[It also means] standing in solidarity with other women who are somewhere along the road to conquering breast cancer, whatever their stage is.”
To get screened for breast cancer, you can make an appointment at the Goshen Retreat Women’s Health Center, located at 1135 Professional Drive.