I, in fact, appeared to have breast cancer
It was in January of 2014 when I went for my annual mammogram. I’ve always had lumpy breasts so it was common to get a call back for another mammogram. But then they said they wanted to do an ultrasound and I thought to myself, “uh oh”. That was the beginning of my journey.
The doctor came in after all of that and explained that I, in fact, appeared to have breast cancer.
I said, “What do we do now? What’s the next step? Where do I go? Do I go to Halifax Health? Do I go to MD Anderson or Sloan Kettering? I have no idea.”
He said I first had to find out what kind of breast cancer I had.
I knew if it was treatable here in my community, it would be a really easy decision for me – I would choose to be treated at Halifax Health.
Knowledge and honesty
Aside from my amazing husband, Hyatt, and family physician, who happens to be a close friend, I knew I needed to connect with my close friends who, themselves, are serious cancer survivors. The knowledge and direct honesty they could provide would help me +further understand my diagnosis and options.
I began weeks and weeks of research. I knew when I told my three boys about the breast cancer, I needed to have as much information as I could so I would be ready to answer their questions.
The most important thing for me
The most important thing for me was the doctor I chose to work with. I spoke with a number of friends and people in the medical community. I kept getting wonderful vibes about the doctor I selected, Dr. Rich Weiss.
I was happy before I went in the door to meet this man. I had a good feeling because I had done my homework and I asked a lot of questions and a lot of people pointed to this doctor.
I’ll never forget that doctor’s appointment. He took 2 hours and talked about every single thing he wanted us to know. When I left his office, I can’t tell you how much better I felt.
I knew I was in the right place. I knew that Halifax Health was going to take care of it
I’ve been a Halifax Health person my whole life, since I’ve lived here – which has been 50 years.
Our 3 sons were born at Halifax Health. I’ve had surgery there. My entire family has had care there.
I had a good feeling about that hospital.
After meting with oncologist, Dr. Weiss, both Hyatt and I left there feeling a relief and a comfort that I will never be able to express. It was incredible.
As I got to know them, their kindness surprised me less. They kept giving more and more
On my very first day of chemo, I met a lady who said, “you know, you’re going to fall in love with these people, they are the best.”
They were wonderful. They are the most caring people I’ve been around my whole life. I don’t think there could me more caring people. And I’m not just talking about the doctors, but the entire staff.
Chemo and I didn’t get along very well, but they made it as comfortable and as good as it could possibly have been. Every day I walked into the radiation room - it was really like seeing family.
I can’t imagine there is anything they could do that could be better than what they did. That probably sounds strange, but I really feel that way.
As unpleasant as cancer is, the doctors, nurses and staff became a good part of my life.
They would call me! And say, “we haven’t heard from you, how is everything?” Everything was fine. They always followed up, even if I didn’t.
There is no way I can express my thanks to these people.
We have a facility here that is well beyond our community
If you are able to stay in your own hometown, this is a much more comforting situation, in my mind. As far as I was concerned, there was no question I would stay in Daytona.
I would stay at Halifax Health. I would stay with Dr. Rich Weiss and I would recommend anybody in the world go to him.
I have absolutely no problem suggesting to people that if they have cancer they should stay here because we have a facility that is well beyond our community. We are very blessed.
The whole secret to breast cancer is early detection
Our lives are about choices. Mammograms and screenings and exams are important.
The whole secret to breast cancer is early detection. I was detected early because I got my yearly mammogram.
I have no family history of breast cancer. In fact, from my research, I know 85% of women with breast cancer have no history of the disease in their family. 85%!
I know Halifax Health has created a very special phone number - it’s 386.425.PINK. It’s a phone number you can go to for help - all kinds. They’ll let you know what’s available and guide you. This information is free and anybody can call this number. Should you have a question about breast cancer, breast exams, mammograms, anything – don’t think twice about calling them today.
About Cici Brown
Cici Brown is active in several civic and charitable organizations in the VolusiaCounty area. She and husband, Hyatt Brown, are founders of the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art in Daytona Beach, which displays the largest collection of Florida themed oil and watercolor paintings in the world dating back to 1839. The BrownMuseum is more than just a traditional art museum; it is a history museum, with the history of Florida told through works of art. Learn more: http://www.moas.org/ciciandhyattbrownmuseum.html