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‘I Never Felt Worried or Anxious’: Joy’s Story

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When you’re only 36 years old and consider yourself healthy, it’s hard to imagine there might be something really wrong with you.

That’s what Joy Schroeder of New Salisbury, Indiana, thought when she found a small lump under her arm. It was just a minor discomfort for her, one she dismissed until she noticed that it had grown larger.

“I stopped my husband one evening and said, ‘Honey, do you feel this?’ And he said, ‘Yes, what is that?’” Joy recalled.

“But I just said, ‘Nothing ‘ and walked away from him.”

It wasn’t until Joy told her sister, a nurse, that it started to sink in that it could be something instead of nothing.

Her sister insisted that Joy go to the doctor to have a mammogram. It was discovered that lump was something suspicious.

The very next morning, Joy went for a biopsy. That confirmed it was breast cancer. And, the next day after that, came even more unhappy news for Joy: The breast cancer had traveled to her lymph nodes.

After the initial shock of her diagnosis, Joy – a teacher – swung into action. She consulted a counselor friend at her school whose wife had been diagnosed with cancer to get an opinion on where to go for treatment.

“What my friend told me was that they had consulted and searched and researched and they felt like the James Graham Brown Cancer Center physicians were the right ones for them,” she said. “For me, there were no more questions. Just with the trust I had in him and his family, I knew it would be right. I called the JGBCC, and they were able to get me in very quickly.”

Once Joy began her treatment at the JGBCC, she felt like she had found a second home.

“There is nothing but caring and compassionate people there. I never felt worried or anxious,” she said. “I felt so at ease with all of the doctors and techs, even the trainees. They were always ready with a ‘Hello! How are you?’ and big smiles on their faces.”

“My own doctor, Dr. Riley, always pats me on the knee or the arm when she sees me. That means so much to a patient,” Joy said. “I know she is not there to just diagnose me and send me on my way. Just the comfort level I have with her, it’s amazing.”


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