Cancer survivor thankful for care

TROY — Sharon Poeppelman likes to tell people she had cancer for 13 days.

A Fort Loramie resident who works as a nurse at Upper Valley Medical Center, Poeppelman was diagnosed with breast cancer last Dec. 11 and underwent surgery Dec. 24.

“I considered I was a survivor as soon as I woke up from surgery,” Poeppelman said.

Her journey began in November when she went for her annual mammogram. She subsequently was asked to undergo a second mammogram and later a biopsy. Meetings with her family doctor to review results and then surgeon Patrick Larreateguti, MD, were followed by the Christmas Eve surgery.

Although a nurse for 28 years, Poeppelman said, she didn’t know what to expect.

Minor complications following surgery were resolved before she underwent 35 radiation treatments beginning in February at the UVMC Cancer Care Center.

“The care was just phenomenal. They were always very professional, confident. I felt safe in their care,” Poeppelman said. “They kept me laughing through it, kept me comfortable. “

Following treatment, she continues to see many of her caregivers as she goes about her job. They stop to ask how she is doing, she said, adding, “That individuality means a lot. We are so fortunate to have such great cancer care so close to home.”

Poepppelman said in late September that she is “doing great.”

She worked while receiving treatment and balancing other demands at home. She and husband, Kurt, have five children ages 10 to 17.

Among her advice for other women is to make sure they are doing self-examinations regularly and get their mammograms. “You can’t rely on one or the other. And, don’t be afraid of the mammogram machine,” she said.

“If you are unfortunate enough to go through this, reach out for help and emotional support,” she said. “If you know someone going through it, don’t wait, don’t ask, just act. Do something to help out.”

For more information on breast cancer diagnosis and treatment at Upper Valley Medical Center, call (937) 440-4820.