Cards For A Cure

Honoree Page

2017 Honoree Lea Lane

I found the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center when my son had a Boy Scout Eagle project to build an arbor in the Healing Garden, and my father-in-law was receiving radiation treatments. Maye Walker graciously worked with us with the Eagle project, and I thought, this is a special place. This led me to begin working as a Registered Nurse downstairs in the radiation department. As fate would have it, I later became Dr. Iman Imanirad’s nurse. God’s Hand…

Triple negative… Really?  I was on a six-month mammogram schedule as my physician was concerned about an area in my left breast, when I found a lump and a biopsy was taken. It was a Friday at work when radiologist Mary Swain, MD, called to tell me I had cancer. A week later she called again to let me know the pathology was back and it was Triple Negative breast cancer. There was silence on both sides, and she said she usually wasn’t giving this information to someone who was a nurse, and she realized the impact the news had on me. I thought to myself, get to work, pull patients back, I would think about this later. Wow, Triple Negative! Of course I went home and researched, and the reality set in. I had been aching under that armpit and down my arm so the fear of metastases was always in the back of my mind. I knew surgery would give me answers, but the wait can be so long. 

I had not told my children yet because I wanted as much information as I could get, and I selfishly wanted their life and mine to stay “normal” as long as possible.  My husband Randy and I have two boys and a girl, and at the time they were 17, 19, and 21. My youngest was a senior in high school, playing volleyball, and her worries consisted of where to go to college, prom, and things a high school senior should think about! All my extended family is in Tallahassee, my parents are elderly, and I knew once my diagnosis was out our world as a family would never be the same. Randy and a few close friends and coworkers knew, but this time allowed me to think, cry alone, pray, find my strength, and find a faith in God that says “why not me” instead of why me.

I have had a book for a long time by Anne Graham Lotz titled, “WHY.” She recounts how her son was diagnosed with cancer, and she prayed with him. “We acknowledged that he could bring God glory through faithfully trusting him if the cancer led to death, or if the cancer went into remission, or if the cancer was surgically and successfully removed, or if the cancer simply disappeared.” I felt those words; I needed to pray, have faith, and trust God. I knew I had the best doctors around me, and an amazing group of coworkers by my side. Some patients asked me if I was going anywhere else to get treatment or another opinion…such an easy answer…absolutely not when the best are right here.

Surgery was a defining moment. I knew my life could change drastically after that, but at this point, I was ready to move forward. I can certainly appreciate the emotions patients face between diagnosis, further testing, waiting on results, and getting surgery scheduled. I remember waking up in recovery, after a double mastectomy, and Randy looking over me and telling me the lymph nodes were negative. Groggy, and out of it, all I could think was thank you. Chemotherapy was next. I scheduled a patient for chemotherapy and he started the same day I did. It was so strange to be on the receiving end. Each treatment, I felt blessed to have people I worked with taking care of me. A co-worker gave me a card with a girl pushing a boulder that said, “You may not see us standing behind you on the front end, but we are all there pushing that boulder with you.” Family and friends also pushed that boulder… meals were provided, that helped give us a sense of normalcy. My book club and Sunday school sent cards, texts, and random acts of kindness carried me and my family through a difficult time.

I am a cancer survivor, a term I have a hard time saying for many reasons. My story is not remarkable, and as an oncology nurse I live and breathe cancer most every day. My point is, there are so many courageous people who I admire: people that don’t see a cure in sight, there is just hope for scans that show remission, or at least don’t show progression, people that keep enduring treatment after treatment to stay alive a little longer to be with family and friends another day, just waiting for the shoe to drop and be told it is progressing, time to try a different regimen. They are truly courageous. I am honored and blessed to be a part of the team at One Healing Place. Each person at the Cancer Center makes a difference, from the greeter when you walk in the door, the schedulers who know you by name, the medical assistants, nurses, physicians, housekeeping, management, and the behind the scenes heroes that get authorizations for treatments and scans. There is research being done to find new treatments and funding is the driving force, but we need to remember to take care of those that take care of us too, and also to remember not only those with breast cancer, but everyone enduring a cancer diagnosis. This community is blessed to have so many people dedicated to helping patients through their cancer journey. Thank you for helping me through mine…

To a cure for all cancers, with gratitude and love,
Lea Lane


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