Jeanne Lieder, 53, of Derwood, MD., is a fitness professional who radiates positivity and practices what she preaches to her clients. She eats well and walks daily. She even hula-hoops to stay in shape. She was surprised, then, to discover a hard mass in her right breast in March 2015.
The Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Breast Center took a mammogram and breast ultrasound. A biopsy a week later confirmed stage 3 lobular breast cancer. Lori Hartinger, nurse navigator at the Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical CenterAquilino Cancer Center, educated Lieder on her diagnosis and coordinated her care. But even more, Hartinger became a friend, sharing recipes and stories about their children.
“She was always available and offered enormous support,” Lieder says. “She was sincerely there for me throughout this entire experience.” Even Lieder’s husband, Michael, felt comfortable calling with questions.
“I consider her a bestie,” Lieder says. “I really believe that Lori saved my life.”
Support Through Treatment
The Shady Grove team wasted no time in administering chemotherapy, aiming to shrink the tumors before the cancer became more aggressive. In January 2016, she had a bilateral mastectomy at Adventist HealthCare. Lieder then had additional radiation and chemotherapy to prevent the tumors from returning.
Throughout her five months of treatment, Michael was her “rock” during her stay in Shady Grove’s inpatient cancer unit and weekly treatments with Chitra Rajagopal, MD. During these sessions, Lieder also received cards from friends and family around the country, a treat from her sister. “I felt as though they were all carrying me, sharing my burden, providing love and true joy during a difficult time,” Lieder says.
Lieder began to see familiar faces at the doctor’s office and developed a friendship with other women who were receiving care, whom she dubbed her “chemo crew.”
Now, more than a year after her diagnosis, Lieder has finished treatment and is hopeful about the future. She plans to use her experience to create exercise videos to get cancer patients up and moving. She knows fitness, nutrition and overall wellness are integral pieces to a cancer treatment plan, and she is impressed with Shady Grove’s commitment to whole-person care.
“If I could give advice to someone newly diagnosed with cancer, I’d tell them to immerse themselves in the support and resources available,” Lieder says. “This is truly a community, and you are not alone.”