TAVR Patient No. 100 and Her Family Describe Improved Quality of Life – VIDEO

Aortic valve stenosis gave Mary Longo chest pains, dizzy spells and shortness of breath. In February, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) relieved those symptoms.

But the procedure did so much more for the 90-year-old retired math professor who lives in Hazleton.

It’s given her the strength and confidence to consider driving her car to church again. She can stay in her home and prepare her own meals, and she has more energy.

“You know, at first you think, at my age, why would you bother?” Longo says. “Well, it’s worth bothering. It’s definitely worth bothering.” Read More »

Many Faces of Breast Cancer: Early Detection, Support and Prayer Guided Abrahana Diaz

Abrahana DiazWhen Abrahana Diaz tells the story of her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, she is particularly thankful for three things: early detection, the support of her patient navigator and Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) care team, and her spiritual strength.

Diaz relied on all three during her journey that started when her annual mammogram detected a possible calcification in her right breast. Six months later, her follow-up mammogram determined it was a mass, and a subsequent biopsy found Stage I cancer.

In this sixth weekly installment of a series called Many Faces of Breast Cancer written by Jennifer Fisher, Diaz shares her experience getting a lumpectomy and then radiation, and tells how she relied on financial and emotional support from patient navigator Maritza Chicas, RN, and her entire cancer team at LVHN. Read her story. Read More »

Many Faces of Breast Cancer: Darlene Heffelfinger’s Diagnosis Difficulty Proves Value of Self-Exams

Darlene HeffelfingerDarlene Heffelfinger personifies the importance of doing breast self-exams monthly. She found a lump in her breast that a doctor’s physical exam, a mammogram, an ultrasound and even a needle biopsy all concluded were “normal breast tissue.”

But Heffelfinger knows her body, and she knew things weren’t normal. She pushed the issue until a lumpectomy determined she had breast cancer.

The 47-year-old was swept into a journey of mastectomy, breast reconstruction, chemotherapy and radiation. When it ended, she was depressed.

Heffelfinger described her experience and shared a lesson she learned – even strong women need help – with writer Jennifer Fisher for a series called Many Faces of Breast Cancer. Read her story. Read More »

Many Faces of Breast Cancer: Stephanie Begovich Kept Her Routine

Stephanie BegovichCancer is an overwhelming diagnosis. So when Stephanie Begovich, 56, learned she had breast cancer, she found comfort by taking control.

Begovich stuck with her routine – continuing to work full-time and ride her bike 10 miles each way –and didn’t let her diagnosis prevent her from doing things.

“Choose something that you can enjoy and feel in control of,” she says.

She also broke down her treatment into stages so the journey felt more manageable.

Begovich shared these and other tips from her personal experience with writer Jennifer Fisher for a series called Many Faces of Breast Cancer. Read her story. Read More »

Many Faces of Breast Cancer: Stephanie Hemingway Learned Reconstruction Was an Option

Stephanie HemingwayStephanie Hemingway thought she knew a lot about breast cancer because of her family history. Then when she was diagnosed at age 41, she learned how quickly the process moved, and about options she didn’t know she had.

One of those options was breast reconstruction following a bi-lateral mastectomy.

She described the process she experienced to Jennifer Fisher, who wrote Hemingway’s story as the third installment of our Many Faces of Breast Cancer series. Hemingway also shares other advice for women, such as the importance of staying in tune with your body and connecting with others who can support you.

Read her story.

The first two weeks of the series featured Joan Edwards and Leah Walia.