Cancer Care Choreography
Thinking pink is not a new phenomenon for Ellen Sessions. Tutus, leotards and dance shoes, all in varieties of the shade, are a part of her everyday life. Sessions is the office manager for a local dance studio where the color is practically part of the culture. However, she never realized how much it, or her dance studio family, would come to mean.
In 2016, Sessions was diagnosed with breast cancer following a mammogram and ultrasound. “My reaction to the news was just… Really? Okay. Well what are we going to do?” said Sessions.
The answer to that question soon fell into place as Sessions saw a surgeon at Woman’s Hospital, Dr. Mary Christian, and elected to undergo a double mastectomy. Following surgery, Dr. Christian recommended Sessions see a medical oncologist and a radiation oncologist at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center to ensure that her cancer did not spread. Sessions underwent chemotherapy with Dr. Kellie Schmeeckle and followed her finely choreographed cancer treatment plan with radiation from Dr. Katherine Castle.
“I could not have asked for better doctors. I’ve never felt more cared for in my entire life,” said Sessions. “They never treated me like a number, they were always focused on getting it right.”
While Sessions circled through her treatment plan, her dance studio formed a circle of support. Students would pause to ask how she was feeling, parents brought her dinner and so many rallied around ‘Ms. Ellen.’ Their encouragement all culminated in their largest show of support, the Strides against Breast Cancer Walk for the American Cancer Society. As a surprise, Session’s dance studio formed a team to walk in her honor.
“Students, moms, dads… everyone joined in to make this happen for me. So many of them cared,” said Sessions. “If I didn’t have my dance studio I don’t know what I would have done. I feel like they’re all part of my family.”
Support during a cancer diagnosis is crucial, and unbreakable bonds are so often formed. Physicians, nurses, co-workers and friends all become part of a circle of care to surround patients from diagnosis to survivorship. Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center and Woman’s Hospital have partnered together to form the Sisterhood, another layer of support and a promise to always have your back. Together, we are devoted to our community, connected by our missions, and united in the fight against cancers that affect women. We are joining your circle of support to be there for you; to keep you Sisterhood Strong. For more information on the Sisterhood, visit breastandgyncancer.org