Mother and daughter fighting breast cancer together embrace virtual support in time of COVID-19
Going through cancer is never easy and the pandemic is making a difficult time even harder.
For Paige Haddy, her journey with cancer hasn’t happened alone. She and her mother have been side-by-side since day one.
“She was just getting a simple, annual, routine mammogram actually, and they discovered the mass at that time,” she said.
Genetic testing revealed both women had the BRCA02 mutation, putting them at a greater risk of developing breast cancer more than once.
Their best bet — double mastectomies. Haddy delayed her surgery so she and her mom could lean on each other during their recoveries.
“I had flown out previously for her five breast surgeries,” she said. “She was here for my initial surgery, my prophylactic double mastectomy in December.”
But that plan came together pre-pandemic. Not only did Haddy’s follow-up surgery get pushed back due to COVID-19 concerns, but when the time came, her mom couldn’t come in.
“Going through this last one without her was very difficult to get through,” Haddy said.
“You can’t have a big group of loved ones coming with you to the hospitals or the clinics, and that’s tough,” said Megan Wessel with the American Cancer Society. “What we can do is be there for them afterwards.”
Wessel says the non-profit can connect cancer patients to new support systems to help get them through the pandemic and beyond.
“We can match up a breast cancer patient with a woman who has been through breast cancer and that has a similar experience with them,” she said. “We also have a cancer survivors network that’s online.”
It’s a new normal Haddy, the Pink Bra Ambassador for the American Cancer Society Southwest Florida, has had to adjust to, and one she fully embraces.
“There’s a community there to help and I know I found it just such a key component to my healing process,” she said.
Aside from the American Cancer Society, there are several breast cancer support groups in Southwest Florida. For more information on those groups, take a look at the links below:
- Florida Breast Cancer Foundation – Lee County Support Resources
- Southwest Florida Breast Surgery – Support Groups
- Florida Bresties – Facebook Group
- Making Strides of Southwest Florida