Any woman would be alarmed if she developed a lump in her breast, but for
47-year old Karen Harrison of Brunswick, it was a special cause for concern.
Both her mother and grandmother died from breast cancer.
When Karen had a breast biopsy performed by Vincent Arlauskas, M.D., of
Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Glynn General & Vascular Surgery,
it confirmed her fears. The results came back positive. She had stage
3 breast cancer. She was also tested for the inherited BRCA (breast cancer
susceptibility) gene mutation and it came back positive as well.
In March 2012, Karen began chemotherapy treatments at the Southeast Georgia
Health System Cancer Care Center-Brunswick Campus under the direction
of Duane Moores, M.D., of Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Hematology
"I thought about going to Savannah when I was first diagnosed, but
Dr. Arlauskas and Dr. Moores changed my mind," she says. "Cindy
was my chemotherapy nurse each time I went in for treatment, and she was
great. It makes you so much more comfortable having the same nurse each
time instead of getting moved around."
Karen completed her chemotherapy treatment in June 2012 and had a right
mastectomy the following August. She began radiation treatments about
a month later under the direction of Radiation Oncologist Bruce Tripp,
M.D., which she completed in November 2012. "I just can't express
how unbelievable everyone was. I loved every doctor and everyone on the
staff. I have worked in the medical field before, so I notice every little
thing and I was very happy."
In June 2013, Karen had her right breast reconstructed by Plastic Surgeon
Bradley Easterlin, M.D., and she has high praise for him too. "Dr.
Easterlin has the best bedside manner. He is so professional and his work
is amazing as well."
Because she has the BRCA2 gene mutation, Karen will soon be having a left
mastectomy with immediate reconstruction performed by Dr. Easterlin. "We
had to wait to do the left side because it's a different kind of procedure,
and I am very excited about getting this last surgery done," she
says. "Now that I am in remission, I'm ready to take this gift
of life and live it to the fullest."