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A Survivor’s Story by Donna Keeney

By on Oct 30, 2013 in Our Super Heroes, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Admittedly, it feels a little strange telling “my story”. Not because I’m shy or prefer to keep private or because it’s too emotionally painful, but because there are so many women (and a few men) who all have similar stories to tell. And mine is no more special than theirs. It seems after learning of my diagnosis that I can’t throw a stone without hitting someone else who was just diagnosed. The other glaring reason it feels strange to me is because I’m obviously a care-giver, not a patient. And I think most caregivers do have a problem with this concept. I’ve had four aunts with breast cancer … two from each side. I personally have had breast issues since my 20’s with multiple biopsies & have been under the radar for a long time. Also of note, I thought I had already “taken my turn” at cancer in 2009 with thyroid cancer.  Given my family & personal history, I shouldn’t have been surprised with the degree of surveillance & level of aggression my doctors have had regarding any little lump that ever came up, but the truth is that I was always surprised by it & borderline annoyed. We can all think of better ways to spend our time & money. And again I think when we’re in the medical field, we tend to not associate ourselves with being patients. And, because the biopsies were always benign, my level of anxiety about it has always been pretty low, lending to a false sense of security. But, my post card reminding me it was time for another mammogram came in the mail last February & dutifully I scheduled my appointment. I was being surveilled for something seen on my left side. When I got called back for more “pictures” because of a new density that was seen on the right this time, I was not surprised because this always happened. I was still not surprised or anxious when they told me this too, needed to be biopsied. However, I was more than shocked to learn this time it was not OK. I was told I had an aggressive, high grade, invasive breast cancer. Initially, I went through all of the classic behaviors of someone in denial & still do on some days. But, I was comforted by the fact that this wasn’t there a year ago. It was a new development & surely that meant we had caught it early! And all signs indicate we did catch it pretty early. I had a double mastectomy in May, followed by a summer of chemotherapy. I took time off for my surgery of course, but with the exception of a few days around each treatment, I was fortunate enough to be able to work throughout my chemotherapy. I have had an outstanding amount of support at work. I always knew I worked with an amazing group of CRNA’s, but they have gone above and beyond with support! They’ve provided myself & my family with meals, gifts & cards. And, they’ve provided an ear or a shoulder when needed, as well as laughter along the way. It’s strange, as caregivers we see patients come through diagnosed w/cancer, faced w/options & we think we know what we would do if we found ourselves in the same situation. Once you find yourself in the situation the options can overwhelm you .. if you let them.  But, realizing there is strength in numbers & how great it is to have all of these options is so overwhelmingly empowering! These options weren’t available 20 years ago, & they are options we would not be afforded if it weren’t for so many who have already gone through this & all of the research that goes into early detection & finding a cure. I’m eternally grateful for the options, the research, & those who have paved the way. There has been recent controversy on “over-diagnosis” of breast cancer with the media actually accusing the medical profession of “fear mongering” tactics. The fact is that 1 out of 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Sharing that statistic is not practicing “fear mongering,” it’s being proactive. Another fact is that early detection is the key to the 5+ year survival rates. It may indeed be true that not all breast cancers are aggressive & many when caught early enough don’t require chemotherapy. Both of these things are GOOD, so why would we not want to detect it early? The truth is, it can all overwhelm you. The trick is to just “have cancer” & not let it “have you.” It’s easier said than done and easier to do if it’s caught early & you have a good prognosis. If mine had not been caught as early as it was, I would have a much different prognosis right now. Every day, I try to view this as an opportunity to live better & to celebrate the fact that this was a life-changing event and not a life-ending one. I have a 21 year old step-daughter & a 9 year old daughter who need to see that breast cancer doesn’t have to be devastating for a woman. Instead of being afraid of getting it, I want them to be proactive so they too can be afforded the benefits of early detection … maybe even stop it in its tracks … and...

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words …

By on Oct 18, 2013 in TANA Annual Meeting | 0 comments

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Top 10 Things NOT to do at the TANA Convention

By on Oct 10, 2013 in AANA, Making an imPACt, Notes from the President, TANA Annual Meeting | 0 comments

Miss out winning a brand new Apple TV because you were at the bar. Hit the SNOOZE on your alarm, thus missing the morning education session Spill your drink on Region II Director’s, Tony Chipas, laptop consequently shutting down the entire AANA. Miss going to the exhibit hall and seeing the latest anesthesia toys. Announcing to every CRNA your love of Star Wars by leaving your cell phone ringer on in the lecture hall. Let out a big “Go Vols” during the AANA update because you’re watching the UT game on your iPad. Forget to become a PAC member, thus allowing “Big Al” the car salesman to decide whether you are qualified to work in anesthesia. Take a nap and find out you missed the Dr. Don Bell College Bowl and Silent Auction. Forget to attend the PAC Dinner at historic Miller’s Grocery on Saturday night missing the epic event of the century. Forget to spend some time getting to know your CRNA Colleagues. (Who knows … you may be asking them for a job some...

Enter to Win … And Support PAC in Return!

By on Oct 3, 2013 in Making an imPACt, TANA Annual Meeting | 1 comment

That’s right! We are planning a fundraiser / giveaway to help support TANA-PAC. All current and new members are eligible to participate. Here’s the deal: Everyone who gives to PAC will be entered in a drawing to win some really cool prizes: iPad Mini 2 Apple TVs 2 Club Level Titans Tickets Starbucks Gift Basket And, don’t worry if you can’t attend the annual meeting … You are still eligible to participate in the drawing! All you have to do is make a contribution to PAC. And, the more you give, the more chances you have to win! If you are not already a TANA PAC member/contributor, click here to make your donation. And, in case you’re wondering how much to give, check out the levels below: Levels Based on Annual Giving and number of times names are entered in give away $1200 or more = 5 times $1000-$1199 = 4 times $750-$1000 = 3 times $500-$749 = 2 times $0-$499 = 1 time Additional options for getting name entered increase annual giving = 1 time convert from one time to annual = 1 time new PAC member one time giving = 1 time new PAC member monthly giving = 2 times Good luck, everyone! We’re looking forward to seeing all of you at the annual meeting next week!...