Breast cancer survivor: Family made big difference in recovery
FRIENDSHIP (WAOW) -
We're just days away from the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The festivities kicked off Tuesday evening.
A reception took place at the Jefferson Street Inn. Breast cancer survivors and sponsors came together before the race on Sunday. Runners also attended the reception, telling the audience why they choose to run in the race.
This week, ahead of the Race for the Cure, Newsline 9 will share stories of breast cancer survivors.
One of them, Linda Grignano from Adams County, says her family's support meant everything.
Linda's story dates back to September 2, 2011—a date forever etched into her mind.
"The winds were so strong," said Linda. Those high winds ended up knocking down trees all across the Grignano's yard in Friendship. It was the same day, though, that another storm began brewing in their lives.
Linda received a call from Marshfield Clinic saying she had breast cancer. She had to tell her husband, Jack, as he came home that morning.
"She says the good news is I'm OK and nothing hit the house," said Jack. "And the bad news is, it's cancer. And it's just like somebody socked me right in the chest."
So began a long and difficult journey for the Grignano's and their two children. Linda had a lumpectomy, then a mastectomy. Chemotherapy lasted for several months.
But Linda relied on the support of her family to get through it.
"My son who lives up in Minneapolis, he would call me and ask how things are going. And I might get on a pity pot and ramble on and on, and he would talk to me and get me refocused," said Linda.
She also talked about the impact her daughter Maggie had on her.
"Maggie came home after the mastectomy and she presented me with a journal that was for me to use any way I want," said Linda. "She gave me a book that's called 'Uplift,' and the author of it only wanted uplifting stories."
And Linda had her husband, Jack, who offered a dose of the best medicine.
"Jack is a funny guy. He'd make me laugh," said Linda.
"I've always been a joker. My son is, too," said Jack.
But that didn't mean the family didn't feel the stress and pain of Linda's diagnosis.
"I didn't know how big of a strain until I talked to my son and I didn't understand how it impacted him," said Linda. "And my daughter, it really affected her, even her studies."
Jack said he also had a hard road.
"I would not show that, though because I knew she needed the confidence," he said.
How did he continue to stay positive during the journey of supporting his wife through her cancer treatments?
"I think it's two things. Number one, knowing her and how strong she is," said Jack. "The other thing was our faith, I think, in God."
Now Linda says she's doing well. It's been about a year and half since her last chemo treatment, and she has a checkup every three months.
But the Grignano's haven't forgotten the road they've traveled together and how they banded together as a family.
The Race for the Cure kicks off Sunday, August 11, at Wausau's 400 block. The 5K run-walk celebrates those who survived breast cancer. It also raises money for people still fighting it.
We'll take you to that event live with a special Newsline 9 presentation. Tune in for our special at 8:00 a.m. Sunday.