Serve Magazine from Concordia Plan Services Winter 2017 - Page 5

Boyce Bounces Back BY Christina Knott “I ’m coming back to work, and I’m coming back bald!” laughed Boyce Clark, a Concordia Plan Services systems analyst, as she pointed to the brightly colored scarf wrapped around her head. After being on disability for more than five months for breast cancer treatments, Boyce was anxious to return to work and to her friends. An Unexpected Diagnosis After an unfortunate tumble, Boyce had a nasty bruise the whole way down her right side. So when she had some discomfort and a bump near her right breast, she dismissed it as some linger- ing aches from the fall. After a while, when it still hadn’t gone away, she went to her doctor and had a mammogram. There was some- thing there. “It took about a month for me to get around to getting my follow-up mammogram; you know, life just gets in the way.” Boyce listed several things that caused her to postpone her next appointment. But when she did get it done at the Siteman Cancer Center, she learned the tumor had doubled in size and was in her lymph nodes. It was considered stage three cancer and very aggressive. she had to keep her sense of humor. “At one point, when I went in for an x-ray, I asked if I had to worry about the machine giving me cancer. They weren’t sure what to think of me.” Boyce recalled, “When they did the second mammogram, after about 15 minutes, they told me they were 99.95 percent sure it was cancer. I was just shocked.” Her doctor’s office, which processes approximately 150 mammo- grams a day, could tell from the shape and characteristics of the tumor that it was cancerous. The biopsy confirmed it. Her treatment plan was to have chemo first to shrink her tumor, which at its largest point was almost 10 centimeters in diameter, so she could have it surgi- cally removed. “It just all happened so fast. I would go into these appointments and they (the doctors) would be talking about all this medical technical stuff — and I would just say ‘OK’ and then ask them to explain it all to me again in English.” Her Fight Less than a week after her biopsy, she started chemotherapy at Siteman. She received six rounds of chemo, one every three weeks. “I’d get my treat- ments on Friday, and by Monday I’d be sick. I’d be sick for two weeks and then start to feel better, just in time to get my next treatment.” Boyce shared that “The nurses and staff at the Siteman Center were great,” Boyce said. Even though she was one of several patients they had each day, Boyce felt the care and attention they provided made her feel like the only one there. “It was more than just a job to them,” Boyce stated. Boyce knew she would lose her hair, but like many people who are diagnosed with cancer, she didn’t realize that she would lose ALL her hair. “You are bald, from head to toe. Completely.” Her eyes water because she has no eyelashes, and her nose runs a lot because she lost her nose hairs. “The good thing is that I haven’t had to shave my legs in five months.” She chose not to get a wig; instead, she has a wide selection of scarves and hats. “Sometimes I’d come home and one of my friends had dropped off a scarf or two for me and left it on my front door. It was really sweet.” A Flood of Support Boyce was very blessed to have the support of her friends and family. Dan, her boyfriend of more than 20 years, was incredibly supportive. “He did pretty much everything for me, even the grocery shopping. If it had to be done, he made sure it got done.” Dan also took Boyce for her treatments and stayed with her through the day. “Treatments were from seven in the | Serve 5