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Michelle (mi-SHELL)

Body

This is a story about Michelle and her determination, grace and unwillingness to let anything get the best of her. It all started when the lump became too painful to ignore. When she went in for a mammogram and an ultrasound, the results were alarming: it was cancer. “I was just shell-shocked,” remembers Michelle.

Her particular type of breast cancer was fast-growing, and in the past, it would have been considered especially serious. Thankfully, the latest chemotherapy protocols proved to be effective on Michelle, and her body responded well. That’s not to say that her chemo experience was easy by any means. It took a toll on her physically and psychologically, and it also made a big impact emotionally on her children and husband. “I think spouses need a lot of support too,” said Michelle, when recalling her family’s experience.

If every dark cloud has a silver lining, then Michelle’s was the care given by her El Camino Hospital team. Beginning with her medical oncologist, Dr. Li, and Dr. Singhal, medical director of the Cancer Center, and continuing with her nurse navigator and social worker, Michelle felt like she was in excellent hands. “I really feel like I got the white glove treatment. Everyone was up to speed on my case and knew what was happening. And the additional programs for me and my family helped us deal with everything that was going on.”

Michelle is fortunate to say her cancer is now in remission. With improving health, she is eager to take control of life once again. “I think we’re making up for lost time. We’re doing some things as a family that we had to put off.” Michelle’s advice for someone who finds themselves in her position is, “Get help, and don’t be afraid to ask. It’s a lot to deal with. Don’t do it alone.”