Cathy Glandorf: Double Mastectomy

“My surgeon told me the most important thing was my peace of mind, and I will never forget those words. I decided to have the double mastectomy.”

“When you go through a cancer journey, it doesn’t matter who you are. We are all human, and we all need support,” said 63-year-old Cathy Glandorf. Cathy credits her recovery from a double mastectomy to the support of her “wonderful family and friends and the top-notch staff at Henry Ford Allegiance Health.”

Both Cathy’s grandmother and mother died of breast cancer, her mom at age 42. Having also recently lost her sister and her best friend to lung cancer, Cathy was really worried when she discovered a breast lump while doing her regular self-exam. She quickly followed up with a mammogram and breast ultrasound, which led to a breast biopsy that confirmed cancer.

Cathy’s husband, Don, and her sister, Kay, went with her to the biopsy appointment, where they were relieved to be met by Patient Navigator Sharon Petri, RN. Henry Ford Allegiance patient navigators are registered nurses who provide personal support for our oncology patients and their families and help them move smoothly though diagnosis and treatment.

“Sharon just appeared and offered immediate support,” Cathy recalled. “She held my hand, told me it would be okay and stayed by my side the whole time.” The fact that Sharon herself is a breast cancer survivor was a comfort to Cathy. “Sharon was our light. My family and I really needed the support she provided. Throughout my journey, Sharon seemed to be there whenever I needed her, and she was always just a phone call away.”

“If you are at Henry Ford Allegiance Health, you will be treated well, and you will have the support you need. You are not alone.”Cathy Glandorf, double mastectomy patient

Cathy and her surgeon, David Prough, MD, decided on a course of treatment that included a lumpectomy, which is surgery to remove just the tumor and the tissue immediately surrounding it. The edges of that surrounding tissue, known as the margins, were then checked to see if they contained any cancerous cells, in which case further surgery would be needed.

“Things went well, and Dr. Prough found the tumor’s margins to be okay, but my family history really scared me,” Cathy said. “After I got home, I couldn’t rest.” She was also afraid to tell Dr. Prough she felt like she’d made a mistake in choosing the lumpectomy. “When I did tell him though, he was nothing but supportive,” Cathy said. “He told me the most important thing was my peace of mind, and I will never forget those words. I decided to have a double mastectomy, and Dr. Prough agreed to perform the surgery. I had complete faith in him.”

Cathy’s second surgery also went well, and she and her family again felt supported and cared for. “Everyone at Henry Ford Allegiance Oncology made me comfortable from the get go. My oncologist, Bianca de Souza, MD, was wonderful, and so were the nurses, nursing assistants, Lab staff and even the clerical staff who helped me with my paperwork,” Cathy said. “I didn’t have a single unpleasant encounter with anyone. They were all so good to me.”

Fully recovered and back at work, Cathy said she is “grateful for the wonderful life I live.”

For more information about Henry Ford Allegiance Health’s oncology services and to read more stories of patients like Cathy, visit HenryFordAllegiance.com/EveryStage.

There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. But you may help lower your risk by maintaining a healthy body weight, limiting how much alcohol you drink and getting regular exercise.