Clio resident Pat Gruener called herself the new kid on the block when she met three new friends – all breast cancer survivors – at Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute (GHCI) more than a year and a half ago. Pat received the news she had breast cancer and was starting her first treatments.
“I felt at home immediately,” Pat says of Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute. I felt so well taken care of.”
Pat’s story began when she discovered a lump in her breast but ignored it. “I was getting over the shingles and figured it was part of that. When I saw my family doctor, he sent me for a mammogram right away. I had two types of cancer in my right breast. And, yes, I was shocked,” she announces. “No one in my family had cancer, but it happened to me. I felt numb.”
The first time she walked into Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute for her chemotherapy treatments, a stranger came up to Pat and greeted her with a hug. “And then I met all of my wonderful new friends who have given me so much support,” she reports. “I was new to this, I hadn’t had my surgery yet, but I was feeling pretty good because of the support and encouragement I got right away.
“I admit the chemotherapy initially kicked me in the hind end,” Pat says. “I had to go to the first few treatments in a wheelchair; I could barely walk.
“I love to golf and I am a strong person, but this journey was not one I was ready for.
“My life was put on hold for more than a year. My calendar of activities quickly was erased and replaced with doctor appointments and treatments.”
Pat started a bucket list of all the things she wanted to do after her surgery. “It gave me hope. It was something to look forward to, something to be positive about. Disney World was on the list and so was fly fishing. I’ve never tried it before,” she laughs.
Pat acknowledges that she learned something new everyday when she was with her new found friends at GHCI. “I’m a member of a club I don’t want to belong to, but I am so glad there is one,” her smile never waivers. “At the time, I had no hair and no breasts, but I was happy.
“Cancer is life-changing physically, emotionally and spiritually, but it encourages new relationships with new friends who will support each other for a lifetime. Keeping spirits up is such an important part of recovery. I’m so grateful for my Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute family,” Pat says.
She completed her last treatment on the same day as Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute’s cancer survivor celebration at the Flint Institute of Arts in August. She spoke to a crowd of some 300 people – mostly breast cancer survivors – and retold her story of hope and happiness.
“It’s so important to keep your spirits up, it’s such a critical part of your recovery,” she announced to the group.
“Now I can start filling my calendar again with the things I love to do,” she beamed.
Pat continues her relationship with GHCI by attending various free classes and programs offered at the institute, serving as a volunteer for GHCI, and encouraging others to do the same.
“As we get older, we often dismiss symptoms of something serious as part of the aging process,” Pat points out. “Don’t let what happened to me happen to you. Don’t wait.”
To learn more about the services of Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute, go to www.GHCI.org or call the institute at 810.762.8226
The Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute continues to provide the most advanced cancer treatment services, technologies and programs available in one convenient, close-to-home location.