Buddy Check 3: Breast cancer survivors educate each other in recovery

Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 5:40 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Buddy Check is a great way to keep up with your self-exams and recommended clinical screenings. But once diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the best things you can do for yourself is find a support group. Peggy Beatty knows that firsthand.

“When I was having really bad days and couldn’t get up, he’d be there right by my side,” said Peggy.

Peggy and her dog, Timber, have been through a lot in the last year and a half. It was July 2021, when Peggy was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“The tumor was very aggressive, so they got rolling fast,” says Peggy.

First chemo, then a lumpectomy, and finally 15 rounds of radiation. Through it all, Peggy had a lot of support from family and friends. Her adult daughter was with her and even shaved her head in solidarity during her mom’s fight.

Then the treatments started coming to an end.

”You’re checking things off, okay I’m done with chemo. Okay, okay now I got to do surgery, okay I’m done with surgery,” says Peggy. “And then it’s like, now what? Now? What do I do? You have all these people paying attention, watching your every move. Then you’re done. Come back in three months and everything kind of comes crashing in.”

And that’s when Peggy needed a different kind of support.

“You feel like you have this cloud around you kind of hanging over us. How do I get over this? That’s why I think that support group for people in all stages, whether you’re going through it or like I am out of treatment, somebody a year out, five years or 10, I want to ask somebody who’s five years out of treatment, ‘Hey how did you get through this? How did you navigate this feeling?’”

This is where breast cancer survivors like Peggy can come now to ask those questions of each other. Burrell Behavioral Health and its foundation, in partnership with the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks, are making a way for breast cancer patients to learn from each other.

“That partnership is bringing a much-needed resource to the Springfield area. So we can facilitate relationships with people who are currently fighting breast cancer, those like Peggy who are just fresh out into recovery, and hopefully soon those who have been in recovery for a while. So they can decrease isolation, you know, increase hope, there are so many benefits,” said Alissa Sarbiewski.

Peggy is anxious to meet more people in the support group, she knows breast cancer survivors have a lot in common and could help each other continue their recovery.

“There’s a lot of mental stuff that you have to process and deal through. That’s why the support group is really important because the only person that can understand is somebody else who went through it,” said Peggy.

For more information on this Breast Cancer Support Group or “wellness experience” through Burrell, you can contact the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks. Don’t forget to sign up for Buddy Check 3 so you can help a buddy remember to do those recommended self-exams and the clinical ones too.

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