Patient Story: An Unexpected Diagnosis

Support from the Breast Care Center

“From the personal call to let me know there was cancer to the call before surgery to say, ‘We’ve got you, we’ve got this. I’ll see you tomorrow,’...[Dr. Cornell] was amazing.”

 
   – April Goodman

(Photo Credit: Crabapple Photography)

When April Goodman visited Winchester Hospital’s Urgent Care Center for her annual mammogram, she didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. She had been experiencing some degree of breast pain, but she attributed it to her menstrual cycle. Still, her provider insisted she be seen at Winchester Hospital’s Breast Care Center just in case.

While going over her results, the medical team spotted something unusual and scheduled her for a biopsy the next week.

“I remember Dr. Kelley Cornell calling me a few days later and she said, ‘You know, we don’t have all the results of your biopsy back yet, but we do see cancer and I need you to come in tomorrow for an MRI so we can see the extent,” April recalls. “It all happened extremely fast, so much so that we didn’t really have time to think.”

The day after the MRI, April and her husband returned to the hospital to meet with Dr. Cornell where they learned she had stage III breast cancer and that it had spread to her lymph nodes.

“The only thing I could think of was ‘My children are so young. I need to be there for my kids.’”

She remembers Dr. Cornell saying, “We’re going to get you through this, April. I can’t tell you the ultimate outcome, but I’m going to tell you we’re going to get you through this. We’re here for you.” For April, it was a small comfort during a devastating time.

April learned that she’d need to undergo chemotherapy, followed by surgery and radiation. The medical team wanted her to get fitted for a port – a small implant that allows chemotherapy to be delivered without frequent IVs – right away, but April had a fall family photo session coming up. She recalls asking to put the port fitting off by a week, telling her team, “I have fall family photos and I’d rather do it before I start having chemo and before my hair starts falling out.”

Ultimately, April underwent five months of chemotherapy before having surgery. She recalls Dr. Cornell calling her the night beforehand to check in with her and answer any questions she might have.

“From the personal call to let me know there was cancer to the call before surgery to say, ‘We’ve got you, we’ve got this. I’ll see you tomorrow,’ you know, coming in to see me with her jacket still on while I was in the hospital to check on me, encouraging them to keep me another day, she was amazing,” says April.

Today, April is cancer-free and her children just turned five and eight. Because of the pandemic, she had to show up for chemotherapy and surgery by herself, but she says she felt “100% supported” by the Winchester team as well as her friends, family, work colleagues, and community.

Stay on top of your breast health by visiting Winchester Hospital’s Breast Care Center.