“They noticed something right away on the screen. It was a white mass. I thought, ‘How could that be?’”
Debbie Olsonoski’s breast cancer diagnosis in January 2016, at the age of 59, came as a shock. There was some history of breast cancer in her family, but it didn’t affect her aunts until much later in life.
“I was just so surprised,” says Debbie, who has always been diligent about having yearly mammograms.
Debbie was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer called triple-negative breast cancer. When she was told she would need surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she was relieved to learn that she could receive all her treatments close to home at Door County Cancer Center in Sturgeon Bay, part of the HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers. It was less than a 15-minute drive from her home to what ultimately became like a second home to Debbie.
“I was always so comfortable there. They treated me like a queen,” said Debbie.
Debbie found that she received more than just cancer treatment at Door County Cancer Center. She appreciated the wide range of additional support offered to her, including hand and foot massages to help make her feel more comfortable, access to hats, scarves and wigs, and colleagues that went the extra mile to make her feel special. While receiving treatment on her birthday, cancer center colleagues surprised her with a cake and sang “Happy Birthday.”
“There is just so much compassion and support there for patients.”
Today, Debbie is cancer-free and happy to be back at work, running a successful landscaping business in Door County. Although her treatments are complete, she continues to find support close to home through The Healing Project – a program designed to help patients recover mind, body and spirit following treatment.