In late February 2020, Lisa Sullivan of the Sutton Police Station was diagnosed.
But it wasn’t COVID-19. At that time, health concerns were at the forefront of most people’s minds.
I had breast cancer.
“I was working hard to deal with breast cancer while other parts of the world were suspended at COVID,” Sullivan, a newly promoted adjutant in the department, brutally said in an interview this week. rice field.
Today, 48-year-old Sullivan shares the story of a journey to defeat the diagnosis during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a very personal story that is sometimes painful, entertaining and inspirational.
“If you do, eventually I would go to a place where there is some platform here, share it, and hopefully encourage women to be active in their health care. I think it’s best explained as part of my journey Also, if you’re currently a breast cancer patient, don’t be shy and don’t feel judged because of the sheer number of us. There is, “says Sullivan. “It was an incredible journey.”
Sullivan was diagnosed with stage 0 non-invasive breast cancer grade II after regular mammograms showing calcification (Sullivan looks like “small sand grains”) and a positive biopsy.
Sullivan was surprised. She said her family had no history of breast cancer and the test was not positive for the genetic predisposition to breast cancer. She said she first thought she was heading “inside the box.”
However, Sullivan decided on March 23, 2020 to fight aggressively, choosing double mastectomy and implant insertion.
“Just in case, I didn’t want to do this again, so I decided to remove both breasts,” Sullivan said. “My idea was,’If this is the problem and you can solve the problem, let’s do it.'”
But by the time her surgery arrived, the state had been blocked.
Sullivan joked that this would be useful for commuting to work for Boston, but she remembered, “There were no cars on the road.”
In addition, removing the unaffected breast was considered a elective surgery that was not done because of the pandemic.
Sullivan said a single mastectomy proved to be a “disguise blessing,” but her recovery was much faster.
However, the procedure was not without problems.
Her skin was “uncooperative” for reconstruction, and she needed an expander — a temporary loosening of the skin to accommodate the implant and placing it under gradually filling skin. A balloon-like implant.
“No one talks about this,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan returned home that same day to recover and checked in with the help of Zoom’s doctor and husband.
But ten days later, Sullivan received even worse news. Doctors found a tumor in the resected breast tissue. Her cancer has risen to stage 1. Sullivan required 12 rounds of chemotherapy and 17 rounds of antibody therapy.
“I want to fight”
Sullivan has decided to use cold cap chemotherapy to maintain her hair. This basically reduces the size of blood vessels in the scalp, reducing the effect of chemotherapy on the follicles. It cost about $ 2,400 and was not covered by insurance.
“I feel like I want to challenge myself,” Sullivan said. “I feel like I’m out of control of my body, not a hair problem, and I want to fight.”
She had an allergic reaction to treatments that required taking steroids.
Meanwhile, Sullivan’s professional life changed while traveling to Boston and Waltham for her treatment. In December 2020, Sullivan was promoted as the first female lieutenant of the Sutton Police Department.
“It was a great finish until 2020,” said Sullivan, acknowledging the work of Chief Dennis Toure and his resignation from his unwavering support and promotion during Lieutenant Perry’s treatment.
“It would be an understatement to say they were astounding,” she added.
In April, Sullivan finished treatment and rang the bell. Since then, her screen has been clear.
She said this experience gave her a new perspective on life, taught her more empathy, and opened her eyes to the health struggles experienced by so many women, but few openly discuss it. not here.
“There are thousands of people (who have had cancer), thousands … they are everywhere,” Sullivan said. “But why do we feel uncomfortable talking about it, avoiding it and being judged … why? It’s a multi-billion dollar business, but it’s sad But let’s talk about it. “
So she’s talking. Create a post on Facebook about her experience and sit with a reporter.
But Sullivan also refuses to let cancer define her.
For example, she prefers to describe herself as a “cancer warrior” rather than a “cancer survivor.”
“Everyone’s journey is their own and I respect it. So this is just my feelings about how I feel and the women there I haven’t robbed you of anything, “said Sullivan. “But I didn’t want cancer to define me. I worked so hard in this profession that something couldn’t come and steal my thunder. I It was very obedient to say that I was a survivor because we are not the ones to easily submit in this series of tasks. I am not a survivor. I suffer from cancer, fight it, and — Hit the tree — you won.
“It’s not a submission,” Sullivan continued. “Submitting means I ran the course and accompanied the ride. No, frankly, I searched for the best surgeon in the world. I went there. Get results. I want the best team to help me … (Cancer) was part of my story, not the whole book. “
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