Breast Cancer Awareness Month- Tiffinny's Story
At the age of 45 I was diagnosed with carcinoma in situ (clusters of microcalcification) in the left breast, stage 1 breast cancer. I never thought I would hear the words “you have cancer” as I was a healthy woman with no history of adverse medical conditions. As I began my journey and along the way, I realized that cancer isn’t picky; it has no specific race, it doesn’t care how young or old you are or whether or not you are in good health. My eyes were opened to a whole new world of people that were hurting and lost. As I look back and ponder over the last several years, I have come to the conclusion; in life you have to find joy in the journey. James 1:2 reads, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials”. Joy is abounding even when we can’t see it, we just have to believe it is there. With help from my Heavenly Father, my beautiful family, my dear friends, amazing team of doctors and sweet business acquaintances, I have made it through some of the most difficult days in my life.
I didn’t start my journey in the hands of a doctor that truly cared about me, Tiffinny. I was a number in the sea of people being treated for cancer. That quickly changed when I was placed under the care of an oncologist, through my insurance carrier. They went the extra mile to get me to a place where the doctors not only wanted the best outcome for me, but they provided a plethora of information and gave me options I didn’t even know were available. Those doctors were Dr. Karen Lane and Dr. Garrett Wirth of UCI Medical Center. At that point, I felt confident that I was going to be ok and survive cancer.
In November 2012, I underwent surgery with Dr. Lane and Dr. Wirth that would ultimately remove the cancer from my body. They were successful and I am ever so grateful for the amazing talent found in both of these doctors. Thereafter, I was under the care of Dr. Wirth. He is a fantastic human being. His ability to help people through various trials they face, whether it is cancer, the recovery thereafter, or an unfortunate accident, it is apparent in every aspect of his job that he loves people
As the weeks passed and after radiation, I experienced complications with infections associated with radiated tissue. Dr. Wirth became an integral part of my recovery. As he explained my options, he would always say: “Tiffinny, let’s keep the main thing the main thing.” The cancer is gone! He would bring me to a place where I would realize that this too shall pass. Together we battled the infections and had a few more surgeries. Until I came to a point where I had to have my tissue expander removed so that my body could fight off the infection and heal completely.
Once Dr. Wirth felt that my body was whole again and the infections were gone, we began discussing the next level of options available. During that time he shared with me that Dr. Lane, Dr. Paydar, and himself were in the midst of putting together a book that would help women understand what they were going to face having been diagnosed with breast cancer. I was given the opportunity to view this book in its preliminary stages. As I read through the pages, my thoughts were “I wish I had this amazing tool when I was originally diagnosed”. I am not saying that Dr. Lane or Dr. Wirth didn’t explain everything thoroughly, they did, but as human nature has it, you can only retain so much information given during your visit. This book allows the opportunity to go home at your leisure to read through the sections that pertain to your diagnosis. I truly believe this book will become so helpful for women in understanding all the terms and treatment types that they may encounter along their journey, and toward becoming cancer free by fighting the good fight.
I am still under the care of Dr. With and now consider him to be part of our family. I am thankful for all he has done to help me become healthy and be able to participate in a few major milestones in my life over the past several years. He is an amazing person and I am grateful that along my journey, he was part of the “joy” that I encountered. He has touched my life and I will forever be changed by all he has done over and above what you would expect from a doctor.
Tiffinny L. Larson