Volunteer Rebounds after Being Diagnosed Twice with Breast Cancer

Article Date: Apr 13, 2016

LN Weber poses with merchandise at the CHI Health Lakeside gift shop.

The CHI Health Lakeside Breast Health Center has achieved the highest certification available – as a Breast Center of Excellence. Certification recognizes a center’s quality performance as meeting quality standards criteria in imaging, surgery, cancer registry, pathology, radiation and patient satisfaction.

LN’s Story

She flew everywhere for 20 years as a flight attendant. She taught women how to apply makeup at the Lancome counter for 19 years. She’s the outgoing volunteer at the CHI Health Lakeside Gift Shop.

And she’s battled breast cancer twice.

Helene Weber – or LN as she prefers to be called – was shattered to learn last October she had breast cancer again. The first time 14 years ago, she underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.

This time the 67-year-old had trouble coming to grips with the diagnosis. “I was angry, very angry,” LN said. “I wanted to know, ‘Why did it come back?’” She transitioned from being angry to feeling lucky, she said. A traditional mammogram didn’t pick up the tumor; a 3-D mammogram did. “It found it – just like that,” she said, snapping her fingers.

She credited her doctors for helping her focus on the fight. Her CHI Health-affiliated hematologist-oncologist Margaret Block, MD, FACP, of Nebraska Cancer Specialists, told her, “You did it before. You did well 14 years ago. You can do it again.”

LN also underwent genetic testing, which alerted her to a gene that was passed on from her mother, who died from ovarian cancer. LN learned she’s at higher risk for certain types of cancer because of the gene.

“I was scared to death,” she said. “But my doctors made me very, very comfortable.” One of them was CHI Health-affiliated Roalene Redland, MD, FACS, she said. New testing showed LN just needed a lumpectomy and radiation – not chemotherapy. “The science is newer today. Treatment is better,” LN said.

“The doctors and nurses were wonderful,” she smiled. “My husband and family were very, very comforting. And I had so much of a support group at the gift shop!” LN will continue to volunteer at Lakeside on Tuesdays. “I like it here because it has the most beautiful collection of everything!” she said. And she enjoys the customers. “I always try to make the customer as happy as possible. A joke here, a joke there…”

Her advice to women: “Make sure you check yourself and have mammograms.” And to others diagnosed with breast cancer: “It’s like an epidemic. Be positive!” She stayed positive and spent a lot of time praying at the synagogue. It was time well spent: “I feel prayer was a big part of my healing!”

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