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A Second Chance After Breast Cancer: Lucille’s Story

Saturday, February 18, 2017 12:26 PM

Lucille Coward beat cancer once, and when it returned more aggressively, she didn't give up the fight. With her new cancer care team at the Kellogg Cancer Center, lead by Dr. Elaine Wade, and through genetic testing, Lucille was ready to take on the new challenges ahead. She shares her journey below:

What made you decide to come to the Kellogg Cancer Center?
I came to NorthShore Kellogg, specifically to Dr. Wade, as a referral. I lived in Park Forest, but was moving back to Mundelein to take care of my granddaughter while her mother worked. The drive back and forth was getting to be too much, and when I asked my doctor for someone in the nearer suburbs, he referred me to her.

Did you know about personalized medicine before coming to NorthShore?
No, I did not know of personalized medicine before coming to NorthShore.

How did you feel after meeting with Drs. Wade and Khandekar and learning about new ways to treat your cancer?
Meeting with Dr. Wade and Dr. Khandekar was a blessing. I must say Dr. Wade was relentless in providing me with many options of care, as I was running scared just before meeting Dr. Khandekar. I knew in my heart that she wouldn't give up, but at the same time, I would say to my family "she isn't God" so if she reaches the end and can't provide anymore, then I know she's done all she could. She introduced me to Dr. Khandekar, and the two heads together came up with yet another alternative.

How has life been since you started your new treatment plan?
After the new recommended treatment, I can tell you that compared to last year at this time, I am feeling so much better. I don't know how long it will last, but for now, I'm enjoying my granddaughter, who is now fourteen, and having a blast with her and the rest of the family and good friends. I love to travel, and just before all of this happened, I traveled to South Africa, London, and Mexico compliments of my daughter, along with her and my granddaughter. I would love to do more of that again (maybe not that far) - I am from Barbados, and would love to go back at least one more time if possible.

As you continue your treatments, how has your relationship with your care team shaped your experience?
As for my care team, I don't think I can find the appropriate words to explain what they've done for me, how they pay attention to my needs, how they care, from the Kellogg Cancer Center team to the guys who park my car if no one is with me. I would never be able to say enough about all of them. Everyone greets me and my family with such warmth.

What have been your favorite activities to get back to?
My favorite activities are going to the movies with my granddaughter and daughter, going to plays, going out to eat sometimes and just eating again, which was something I couldn't do before because everything tasted horrible.

What would you tell other patients about the importance of getting genetic testing?
I would tell other patients to first get with the right doctors who will offer you options, and learn how to ask the right questions. Do some research; although after meeting Dr. Wade and her team, I really didn't have to push hard for answers - she was very forthcoming in offering and explaining those options.