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Life Lesson: Oncology Nurse Undergoes Double Mastectomy & Breast Reconstruction

HealthDiseases and IllnessesBreast CancerSocial IssuesHuman Interest

Sharon Goldman knows her way around a hospital--especially Parkland Hospital where she's an oncology nurse navigator--now she's on the receiving end of care after being diagnosed with stage two breast cancer.

"I was absolutely shocked," Sharon said. "It never crossed my mind that I would have breast cancer within a ten and a half month period."

But she does and today at Forest Park Medical Center she underwent a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction.The care giver is now the cared for.

"I mean, intellectually it's prepared me," Sharon said. "But emotionally it's still very raw, just knowing that I am the patient."

Yesterday Sharon met Mindy Rubenstein who recently had a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction--she assured Sharon there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"The result is so terrific," Mindy said. "I am so pleased and I feel normal and I feel womanly and feminine and my clothes look very nice and I am so happy. I didn't think it was possible."

It was an early start for Sharon's healing process.

"She's a survivor," Sharon said. "She feels whole again and her breasts are you know, she describes them now as even more beautiful after her diagnosis of cancer."

Plastic surgeon David Azouz is making sure that today is new beginning for Sharon.

"She actually took care of her mother who had breast cancer," Dr. Azouz said. "She takes care of a lot of patients who have cancer so she is more educated than most patients, she also watches herself very carefully."

And that is Sharon's message.

She says conflicting reports about how often and at what age women should be checked has confused women.

She says get one every year.

"Had I waited," Sharon said. "I don't know where I would be today."

And tomorrow she'll be an even better caregiver.

"Being a patient today," Sharon said. "I'll have an even greater knowledge in terms of how to navigate patients through the whole healthcare system."

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