Kathy Lasko's ordeal with breast cancer may have left her a little diminished physically, but her spirit is more full than ever. “I am just so thankful for those who were there for me,” the 61-year-old Geistown woman says. “For God most of all, but also for my family and friends who were so supportive. And I am just so thankful for the wonderful health care professionals.”
The mother of three and grandmother of four was diagnosed Oct. 24, 2019, after a suspicious mammogram that was followed by several additional tests.
Kathy, who works in the physical therapy department at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, says she didn't tell everyone about the cancer right away. “It's kind of hard to say it,” she says. “You get kind of choked up saying it and I did not want that. But after a few days, you come around. It's a diagnosis, just like anything else. You adjust.”
Kathy has had to adjust before. She struggles with both lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
“Faith in God is just so important,” she says. “You know you are not alone. I don't how people without faith handle it.”
On Dec. 4, Kathy had surgery. Although she went in expecting a lumpectomy, her surgeon, Dr. Renee Arlow, had to do a partial mastectomy due to the location of the tumor.
Kathy opted not to have reconstructive surgery done. “It's not what's important,” she says.
The tumor was caught and removed early and the cancer had not spread to the sentinel lymph node, so her oncologist, Dr. Ibrahim Sbeitan, decided she would do well with radiation followed by an estrogen receptor blocking pill.
Kathy had 32 radiation treatment and says she did well. “I'd go in before work and have my treatment,” she says. “I was kind of tired, but it wasn't too bad.”
Recently, she had her six-month mammogram and ultrasound followup and all was well.
Although things are nearly back to normal, some things have changed, Kathy says. “I think I am better able to talk to patients and try to encourage them.
“I know firsthand what they are going through.”