As Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to an end, a local survivor is sharing her story in hopes of helping others.
Kathy Shear has been a volunteer with the Tilden Fire Department for 20 years. In 2018, Shear says she went to HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls for a mammogram, something she had done before.
This time however was different. The nurses told her she would need to talk to a doctor right away. Shear says she was then referred to a specialist for a biopsy. Afterwards, all she could do was wait.
“It became the longest three days that I had to wait for the results,” said Shear.
When the results came in, it wasn’t good news. Kathy was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I didn’t know what to do. I screamed, I hollered, I called my husband,” said Shear.
Shear says after a lot of crying, she became focused on what to do next. She met with an oncologist and surgeon.
“I had a total mastectomy of the right breast…it didn’t really hit me till just before they wheeled me into surgery that I was losing a part of my body,” said Shear.
After surgery, Kathy had to go through a year of chemotherapy and radiation. Thankfully, she finished her last treatment this past August. She says she felt like a queen that day and kicked her heels up as she walked out of the hospital.
She’s now focused on spreading the word by sharing her story to help others. She encourages other women to get their mammograms.
She says early detection is so important when it comes to cancer. At age 40, doctors recommend women start getting checked. Kathy is now a huge advocate for mobile mammography for those who live in rural communities.