The Coshocton County Beacon October 21, 2021 - Page 22

22 • The Beacon October 21 , 2021

Ganz lives in truth , bravery and compassion

By Tara Gracyk
On Sept . 22 , council woman at large Michelle Turner Ganz announced on social media that in June she was diagnosed with breast cancer .
Ganz had a grandmother who died in 2002 from breast cancer and an aunt who , at the age of 46 , was diagnosed with it in 2003 . Because her aunt Gayle ’ s cancer was fast growing and invasive , she had a double mastectomy and fought for years before the cancer spread to her bones , and she died at age 52 . It was because of her aunt Gayle that Ganz began getting mammograms at the age of 40 .
In June , 19 days before she turned 50 , Ganz received the news she had breast cancer . “ My doctor told me prior to the biopsy that she
On Sept . 22 , council woman at large Michelle Turner Ganz announced on social media that in June she was diagnosed with breast cancer . was very sure it was cancer , and I should plan on receiving that news the following week . It was very scary to hear ,” Ganz said .
Ganz began thinking about what plans she had in place such as if her family knew where her life insurance policy was , how she should write down all of her passwords , where her power of attorney was , et cetera .
“ Everything slowed way down for me , almost like the air in the room changed . I immediately went on auto pilot ,” Ganz said .
Ganz tried her best to listen , to try to understand , to ask what ’ s next .
“ When I was diagnosed , I decided to have a genealogy test to see if I was at a higher risk . To my surprise , it came back negative . That meant I could have a lumpectomy instead of making the decision to have a double mastectomy ,” Ganz said .
At the end of July , Ganz had a lumpectomy and had some lymph nodes removed .
“ I was lucky they got all the cancer , and nothing showed in the lymph nodes they removed . I have a couple of scars , and the skin near the incision is a bit numb . Once that healed , I had to have 23-consecutive days of radiation . I finished my treatments on Sept . 30 ,” Ganz said .
While the news has been good and Ganz is finished with her treatments , she will take hormone-reducing medication for the next six to 10 years .
Ganz also has experienced some side effects from the radiation . Her skin was badly burned , and each day it was getting worse . She credits having great doctors that prescribed a medicine that has helped . She is still healing but feels so much better now than when she was going through treatment . Having cancer has impacted Ganz in other ways too . For instance , being sick without feeling sick was an odd experience . She shared how the treatments made her feel worse than she did before the treatments started .
“ Cancer is a very strange and horrible disease . I think the biggest impact it has had on me is that it required me to live in the present , which is a gift actually ,” Ganz said . “ I like to think I ’ m the strong one that fixes things . This couldn ’ t be fixed so easily , and seeing the fear and love in the eyes of my kids and family was a feeling that is hard to describe .
“ I was very worried . I still am . But everyone has been so supportive and loving . It felt really strange being on the receiving end of so much love and support . Not that I don ’ t always have it ; it was just different this time .”
Ganz disclosed how she had one friend who sent her a card every week with little jokes , puzzles or just words of encouragement and how it made her smile to receive those cards . She said her sister was amazing because she talked to her often about things to think about and focus on during the radiation treatments . And she credits her wife , Stacey , for being her cheerleader and her rock through the entire experience . Stacey provided words of encouragement before every surgery and treat-
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