Meet Claudette

Claudette Theriault is a planner. She likes to know exactly what she is doing and when. But, there is no way to plan for breast cancer. In the late nineties, Claudette found a lump the size of a grape; it was Stage Three Breast Cancer. She had a lumpectomy followed by radiation in New Brunswick (there was no radiation on PEI at that time) and then six months of chemotherapy at the old PCH on Beattie Avenue.
Every spring since then she’s gotten a mammogram. Each time her appointment came around, she was nervous her cancer had returned but knew that it was better to know than not. “It’s always a period that I’m anxious,” Claudette told us in a recent interview at PCH. “I was always afraid that I would get it again. You just wait, wait, wait for your results.”
Last year the day came. Claudette’s annual mammogram was with technologist, Amy Murphy. “Amy was thorough. I thought, ‘If I have ANYTHING, she’s going to find it.’ I left there with confidence that if there was anything at all, that she would have found it. She was so thorough, compassionate, caring, and gentle.” Amy was new in her role and her work was checked by Mammography Coordinator Heather Bulger before being assessed by a Radiologist. The mammogram revealed that Claudette had breast cancer once again. It was tiny, but it was there. “I hadn’t felt anything,” Claudette expressed quietly. “The doctor had examined me and had not felt anything. Even knowing where it was, I could still not feel it. It was like a grain of rice but the mammography machine found it and it saved my life,” Claudette continued. “There’s been a lot of progress in the last 20 years. I felt positive in the sense that they had found it even though it was so small. It was good news in that way. Yes it’s bad news, but it’s kind of good news. I was so grateful. I credit my life to Amy and that machine. If I had waited until I FELT the lump … it could have gone elsewhere. To everyone who hesitates to get a mammogram – it does save your life, it saved mine.”
Claudette’s cancer was only Stage 1 this time when it was thankfully caught early by the mammogram…much earlier than before. Given her previous battle with cancer, she received a mastectomy to eliminate the possibility of it returning in that breast a third time. “I can’t say enough about the care I received from the nurses and the doctor,” she said.
Claudette is grateful for the mammography machine and sees the value of bringing in a new, even higher resolution mammography unit. “It did find my cancer. And, if something is coming that is better, can you imagine if people could get away without treatments (thanks to early detection).”
Your gift to mammography today ensures a brighter tomorrow for women like Claudette. We thank you for your thoughtful donation.