The woman next door is a survivor is a series of stories about incredible women in the community that have overcome a mountain of obstacles with a relentless and fearless attitude. One of the first things Katharine “Kathy” Brice talks about when sharing her breast cancer survivor journey is how great her team is. There’s Dr. Amber Orman, her radiation oncologist; Dr. Roxanne Sylora, her reconstruction surgeon; Dr. Lisa Minton, her breast surgery specialist; Dr. Adnan Akhtar, her medical oncologist —all of them AdventHealth physicians.
“I feel like I need to name them all because they saved my life. I truly believe I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for their awesome medical skills and compassionate care,” she says.
Kathy admits she was scared when she first heard the word cancer. She was diagnosed in 2019 after finding a lump about the size of a pecan in her left breast. “It was the fear of the unknown. It was the fear of what comes next,” she says.
Now, three years and many treatments later, Kathy admits she hasn’t been able to overcome all her fear, but says she has long periods when she’s not afraid.
A few things Kathy has found most helpful has been her daughters Cailyn and Amanda, amazing friends, the unconditional love and companionship of her Norwegian elkhound puppy named Stitch, and the music and art therapy program at AdventHealth.
The therapy programs are funded by private donors and use a variety of creative techniques to address the different needs of those receiving cancer treatments, their caregivers and survivors.
Kathy happily notes another name to add to her team: music therapist Amelia Lane, who would sing and play guitar at the infusion center Kathy went to. “It was so relaxing,” Kathy says. “I still like to attend music therapy, although on Zoom for now. For the hour that I’m there I feel like I’m able to forget all the negative things in my life and feel some peace.”
This month, in partnership with AdventHealth for Women, we’re recognizing some of the women in our community who are survivors of breast cancer, who have had a recurrence, or who are currently going through treatment. To us, all of these women are survivors in their own right. It is the hope of these women that by telling their stories they inspire and educate other women who are facing a breast cancer diagnosis.