The phone call no one wants to get.
It started with a lump. Then tests. Then a biopsy. Then the phone call—the phone call that changed everything. Pam was just 45 years old when she received her stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis—a diagnosis that came out of nowhere. She was healthy and active, with no family history of cancer. “I lost my dad at 16,” Pam says. “When I found out I had cancer—I was the same age as my dad and my son was 16. I told myself, ‘God, let me grow old so I can see my kids grow.’”
Fortunately, Pam’s medical team at Seton wasted no time. They immediately designed her treatment plan, which would include 20 weeks of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of radiation and 11 surgeries. It all happened so fast—the news, the treatment—but Pam knew she was in good hands because Pam had seen it firsthand. Her mother was a Seton nurse for 40 years, and Pam is the director of volunteer services. Seton was her second home.
During treatment, Pam ran a half-marathon and participated in a 21-mile paddleboard race. Though her treatment was emotionally and physically taxing, she chose to focus on the positive. “I always had 4 or 5 people with me during chemotherapy,” Pam says. “It was my happy hour—I’d bring food and drinks. Friends, family and volunteers sat with me every week. I had so much support—I couldn’t have done it without all the love.”
Once Pam completed treatment, she realized she needed to share her story with other women facing the fear and uncertainty of a breast cancer diagnosis. “I wanted to provide direction to people who didn’t know where to go. I knew this was my chance to advocate for the compassionate medical staff who work at Seton and the incredible care patients receive.”
Pam has been cancer-free for three years. She continues to raise awareness about breast care, raise money for cancer causes, and live life to the fullest.
“You can get through anything with the right information and the right attitude,”
Pam is the Senior Director of Volunteer Services at Ascension Seton