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Surviving breast cancer: Turning Point

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Surviving breast cancer: Turning Point
By: Tiffany Sisson

Early detection saves lives! That's the message being spread by the American Cancer Society. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The steps to overcome breast cancer can be a tough journey. That's why it's best to not go it alone.

Every month KFVS encourages women to find a buddy to remind you to do monthly breast self-exams. If you're ever diagnosed with the dreaded "C" word, cancer, it would take more than one person to travel that tumultuous journey.

As an oncology nurse at Southeast Hospital, it's Ann Zenthoefer's job to know breast cancer. "I see the sickest of the sickest cancer patients," said Zenthoefer.

Since July, understanding breast cancer became a personal mission. "I know that most cancer patients do fine with it. It's just very scary when you first find out," explained Zenthoefer.

Zenthoefer has breast cancer, "A routine mammogram found breast cancer back in July, I had surgery the first part of July, and started chemo September 9th."

Now, Zenthoefer is at another turning point in her life. A journey led her to a group of women facing the same circumstance. "Everybody's talking about where they're getting their chemo, who their doctor is, and what their side effects, and how they're dealing with their side effects, and all that stuff," said Zenthoefer.

Turning Point is a seven week program sponsored by Southeast Hospital. It's a destination designed for women diagnosed with breast cancer within the past year. "They may be in different phases of treatment. One maybe has gone through it and can ease the fears and even misconceptions that another may have about a treatment that they're getting ready to start," explained Paula Stout, facilitator of the program.

While the subject is scary, the mood is often positively pink.. The women take time to smile, using laughter to help ease the fear and pain. "These ladies form a bond right away because they're going through similar things," said Stout.

"That's really important, I think, for people to share that stuff because some people, they don't understand. They can relate like nobody," said Zenthoefer.

Turning Point is a healing for the mind, body and spirit. The women focus on motivation, how to keep a journal, the benefits of exercise. They even learn to change their thought process in the kitchen, and, they get a 6-month membership to Healthpoint plaza. But perhaps best of all, they now have a strong support system.

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