Koshokton-Joe Kobel remembers telling her husband Bill that he didn’t expect her hair to come off with breast cancer chemotherapy. After a while, she ran her finger over her hair and a lump came out.
That was about 10 years ago. Joe said he wasn’t the kind of person who attended cancer events, but she’s happy to share her story and comfort those who have experienced what she’s done. According to her, each person travels, but as much as possible we want to help others understand the navigation of that journey.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, increasing the focus on research, funding and testing. Kayla Border, a radiologist at the Koshokton Community Medical Center, said the number of mammogram screenings they perform will constantly increase in the fall. And that’s a good thing. Early detection can be the key to survival.
Awareness campaigns can take many forms during the month, such as a representative of the Koshokton County Sheriff’s Office wearing a pink badge. This is especially impressive as Joe retired from the sheriff’s office as a dispatcher nearly two years ago, and the support of her law enforcement family was key to her fight against cancer.
Captain Dean Hettinger said this was the first year he had the pink badge on. Sheriff Tim Rogers was given a pink badge last October and he wanted to extend it to the department. Hettinger said he had passed the Fraternal Order of Police lodge to get the badge. He said most police officers wore them this month.
“It’s fun and exciting to do something different, and it supports a really important purpose,” said Hettinger.
Like many women, Joe said she felt a lump in her breasts during the self-examination. She went to the exam.
“I got a call and was asked to come at the end of the day, so I knew it wasn’t good news,” Joe said. “The surgeon said it was breast cancer. Everything is a matter of fact to me, so I said,” What do we do? “
After that, she went to the James Cancer Center in Columbus for surgery. The mass was about 4 cm. Joe removed both breasts as a precautionary measure.
“I live here because I went there and had surgery,” she said. “I’m one of the lucky ones. I know there are still a lot of people under treatment, but I’ve had no symptoms and cleared.”
She had to undergo chemotherapy, which resulted in her hair falling out.
JD Hardway, now a deputy of the sheriff’s office, was dismissed from the department at the time and worked as a barber in Warsaw. She went to him to have her head shaved, because she didn’t want it to be mottled and shabby when it fell.
She knew him so she went to the hardway. Later, several police officers, including Hettinger and Joe’s husband Bill, who retired from the sheriff’s office, shaved his head in support of Joe.
“It was solidarity. It meant they were behind me and cared about me. That meant a lot,” Joe said. “My friends were great. Everyone was great (at the sheriff’s office). Everyone was really good.”
She is sometimes asked to talk to a newly diagnosed person. They usually ask questions about the treatment process and removing the breast if it seems correct.
“If someone wants to talk, I can’t use it, but everyone’s journey is different. My stuff was completely different from others’ stuff,” Joe said.
Like many, Joe feels he has been given a second chance and wants to get the most out of it. She had a bike for a while, but now she has small scooters around the town.
“I don’t care if people laugh at me. I’m laughing all the time I’m riding on it,” she said.
Importance of screening
Border has been working in the Department of Radiology for 6 years and as a mammologist at CRMC for 5 years.
When someone comes to the test, they are asked some background questions, such as whether they have any problems, a family history of cancer, implants or procedures that have been done in their breasts in the past. The exam usually includes four pictures from different angles, including the entire breast tissue. Then someone will receive the call or the result by email.
Borders said they do about 15 mammograms a day, three days a week. Women are advised to undergo an annual examination after age 40 so that the radiologist can track the breast tissue over time.
“Breast cancer can be really mean. One year the breast tissue will be healthy and the next year it will come back and there will be something that wasn’t there before,” Border said. “Come every year helps radiologists keep that wonderful flow of seeing your breast tissue change over the years.”
Men can also get breast cancer, but borders rarely say they get breast cancer about every six months. When men are screened, it is usually due to a particular problem. The male scanning process is the same as the female scanning process, but is usually diagnosed.
“We screen images, but we’ll dig deeper into them,” she said.
According to Border, having an annual test is especially important for women undergoing menopause. Hormones in the body can relapse cancer that did not exist in the past. Borders have seen many older patients develop breast cancer, although some doctors believe that women over the age of 70 no longer need regular examinations.
“We still encourage people to come. Come get them until you can’t physically do that,” Border said. “Ultimately it’s up to them and their doctors, but if they can physically get in and move around, it’s a good idea to get in and get it done.”
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