Professor shares story of survival
Seven years after her diagnosis, health sciences professor Denicia Fowler is breast cancer free and grateful for her good health.
“Be aware of your body, and take part in your healthcare,” Fowler advised.
In 2006, five months after having a regularly scheduled mammogram, Fowler woke up in the middle of the night with a knife-like pain in her breast. In January 2007, at age 57, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I definitely didn’t see it coming,” Fowler said.
Her doctor, who told her the news over the telephone and advised her to immediately get a mastectomy. Still jarred from the emotionally assaulting news of having cancer, and unhappy with her doctor’s method of handling her diagnosis and treatment, Fowler soon sought a second opinion.
“That was the first time I ever said that, whatever the doctor said was what was okay with me but this time I said I wanted a second opinion,” Fowler said.
Fowler then sought out Dr. Lauren Schnaper at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC). She had heard of Schnaper through her close friend whose mother had undergone bi-lateral breast cancer treatment with her.
“I always had thought that if it ever happened I would use her doctor,” Fowler said.
With a new doctor and team of medical specialists, including a nutritionist, Fowler underwent two surgeries to remove the lump in her breast. Next, she endured five months of chemotherapy followed by radiation for seven weeks straight, five days a week.
“I had to stop working and I got very sick it was brutal, but I am grateful,” Fowler said.
Now much healthier, Dr. Fowler is eager to discuss her experiences. Last Thursday she spoke about her breast cancer survivorship at the Relay for Life Kick Off Event. She also plans to walk at Towson’s Relay For Life on May 3, 2014 and is working on putting her own team together to contribute to the cause.
“A lot of women are embarrassed, but I think it’s my right to tell people about it,” Fowler said.