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A Lafayette mother receives breast cancer diagnosis on her birthday

Gina Boyd shares how she was able to fight breast cancer with help from doctors at IU Health Arnett's cancer center.

Posted: Nov. 6, 2018 10:41 AM
Updated: Nov. 6, 2018 10:58 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — About one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life according to experts at IU Health Arnett. A statics Lafayette teacher Gina Boyd had never heard until she was diagnosed, but with help at IU Health Arnett's cancer center, she was able to fight.

"I have seen the beauty of what other people can do for people who are hurting."

Usually on your birthday you get a chance to make a wish after you blow out your candles. Last year, teacher Gina Boyd got something she never wished for while she sat in a doctors office at IU Health Arnett.

"My birthday is October 26th," said Boyd. "And I found out on my 46th birthday that I had breast cancer."

She had only taken a half day off from teaching and was now blindsided after radiologist Dr. Phyllis Martin-Simmerman gave her the news. News she now had to share with her husband and her 11 and 16-year-old children.

"To think of your children planning for their life without you it's hard to hear," Boyd said. "It's hard to think about your children having to do that."

She said it just got harder.

"My family was calling me all day to tell me Happy Birthday and to then say guess what, thank you, but guess what was really a crappy way to spend my day," Boyd added.

Her loved ones began to share locations for teatments which were not local, but Martin-Simmerman made the decision easier by hand picking her doctors at the IU Health Arnett cancer center only 16 minutes away from her home. The cancer center is where she remembers having one of the sweetest moments with her radiation onchologist.

"As soon as he walked in the room he said Hi I'm Neil Estabrook, I'm so sorry you're here and I burst into tears," said Boyd. "What a compassionate, beautiful thing to say, yes I'm sorry I'm hear too."

The compassion contunied with expressions of love Boyd received from her friends family and school community.

Boyd said, "We had meals three times a week prepared for us from October through March."

Boyd is still surprised she went through radiation, chemotherapy, and a mastectomy because she had no risk factors. She was experiencing breast pain, but when she made the appointment at IU Health it didn't occur to her it might be breast cancer.

"I know other women are sitting there thinking, oh I'm probably good," said Boyd. "I was that girl and here I am. Get your mammogram."

Now, Boyd can finally receive a birthday gift she would actually wish for and her doctor told her she could share good news with her friends and family this year.

"She said you can tell them there is no evidence of disease," said Boyd. "I'm like alright that works for me, I like take it no evidence of disease lets go with that."

The American Cancer Society recommends women age 40 and older get a mammogram every year. At IU Health Arnett there is a team of experts to evulate a patient's breast cancer for the most effective and personalized treatment.

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