Shelley Serle has a long list of things she wants to get done in retirement. Warm winter holidays and golfing all over Canada and the USA with her husband are at the top of the list. Receiving life-saving treatment for breast cancer, however, definitely didn’t appear anywhere on her ‘to do’ list. But she’s certainly grateful the expert diagnostic care and treatment she needed was there for her when she needed it. Shelley’s story begins in December of 2017 when the retired nurse went for a routine screening test for breast cancer.
There was no history of breast cancer in my family, so I didn’t give it a second thought,” Shelley says. “But four days later, they called me to say the test found something abnormal.
Shelley was scheduled for a follow-up mammogram within days, where the initial diagnosis of breast cancer was confirmed.
"My husband and I usually go to Mexico for three months each winter,” Shelley continues. “Obviously, those plans had to be put on hold. But thank goodness for the early diagnosis. I’m certainly grateful my medical team had access to top quality diagnostic imaging equipment. We’re definitely fortunate to have that here."
Next, Shelley shares a remarkable part of her story. “I was originally scheduled for my screening test in October, but we were away at that time. My doctor and surgeon both said that the cancer might not have been detected back in October because it was so small. That extra couple of months likely saved my life.” Things moved quickly after the mammogram. A biopsy was performed in early January, Shelley had an initial consultation with her surgeon less than two weeks later, and her cancer surgery was performed the following month.
“I just couldn’t believe how organized and efficient everything was,” she said. “And I’m saying that as someone with lots of experience in the health-care sector, including ten years in management. If they said I would hear something in a week, that’s what happened."
The surgeon called me with the results of my surgery on a Sunday, if you can imagine. I was certainly impressed. The care and compassion I was treated with at every step in the process was incredible.
Following the surgery, the next step involved radiation treatment at Regina’s Pasqua Hospital. Shelley’s treatments began in April and wrapped up in early June. Today, she’s feeling well and is looking forward to resuming her active retirement.
“Shelley’s story demonstrates the importance of equipping our hospitals with the best diagnostic imaging equipment possible,” said Lisa Green, vice-president, development, Hospitals of Regina Foundation.
We’re counting on the community to support our $3.6 million diagnostic imaging fundraising campaign to ensure that equipment is in place for people in their greatest time of need.