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“You have breast cancer.”

“You have breast cancer.” No matter how much you think you are prepared to hear those words, it is still a punch in the gut.

My breast cancer journey began on my 58th birthday at my scheduled annual mammogram. After a follow-up ultrasound and biopsy, I landed face-to-face with breast surgeon Dr. Kerry Bennett. When the diagnosis came, taking my illusion of control away and thrusting mortality in my face, I was overcome with a feeling of shame for being diseased. Getting my arms around what was happening was a challenge with all the emotional baggage, but with the help of Dr. Bennett and her “Little Pink Book”, I realized it was time for me to make the choice to do something positive in my life.

Based on the recommendation of Dr. Bennett, I hired a life coach, a wonderful person who challenges me and holds me accountable along my path of self-care, healing, and purpose. I exercise and walk over 4 miles a day, have taken inventory of my diet, and have lost 100 pounds. I now view my “someday” as today, and every day I make it a point to enjoy life and give thanks for the beauty that surrounds me.

The team at the BID-Plymouth Breast Center deal with breast health and disease on a daily basis, yet they never lose sight of the fact that for their patients the cancer journey is new, scary, and can be difficult to understand. I was treated with a high level of care, compassion, dignity, and respect, for which I am deeply grateful. It truly is a great investment in our local community to have this level of quality care available to those of us that live and work in this area.

I would specifically like to acknowledge Dr. Bennett, a remarkable human being who listens to her patients with her whole heart. I thank her for always making herself available for questions and concerns throughout the process. It was a great comfort to me to know that she was there when I needed her.

Reflecting on my journey over the last year, I have come to view those four words from Dr. Bennett “you have breast cancer” as the best gift I have ever been given, as they and the person delivering them have been a catalyst for changing my life for the better.

– Paula S.


Learn more about Dr. Kerry Bennett by reading her #FacesofBIDPlymouth feature.