Craig woman receives breast cancer diagnosis, joining her mother in on-going battle
When Craig resident Tina Schukar felt a sharp pain in her side and in her arm in late May, she thought it was just a torn muscle at first.
But when the pain refused to subside, Schukar grew concerned, leading to a doctor’s appointment that set her off down the road of an eventual breast cancer diagnosis.
“When I first felt it I couldn’t raise my arm,” Schukar said. “I came home and put an ice pack on it and hoped it would go away…but it never really went away.”
When the pain wouldn’t go away, Schukar decided to tell Dr. Diane Petersen of UCHealth Women’s Care Clinic about the pain at her annual women’s checkup.
Schukar said Dr. Petersen was concerned when she felt a lump, ordering a mammogram be done.
Near the end of July, Schukar had the mammogram, confirming the breast cancer. That diagnosis stung Schukar, but breast cancer is something she’s familiar with, as her mom is currently battling it in Utah.
“My mom was diagnosed in October of 2019, so I know exactly what she’s going through,” Schukar said.
Telling her mom that she had breast cancer herself was the hardest part of the breast cancer diagnosis.
“That was the worst thing,” Schukar said. “It was over the phone; she was one of the last ones to know just because it was going to hit her hard. She took it better than I thought though.”
Schukar’s mom came into town for her Oct. 8 surgery at UCHealth, where Schukar has worked for the last 14 years as part of the Environmental Services Team. Going in, Schukar wasn’t worried so much about the mastectomy itself, rather the possibility of there being complications within the surgery.
“The only thing that scares me is that when my mom had it, they told her she only had two lymph nodes. When they went in, they actually took 15 lymph nodes,” Schukar said.
Fortunately for Shukar, her Oct. 8 surgery went well. Doctors took out the one cancerous lump and took out one other lymph node. At her follow up doctor’s appointment Thursday, Oct. 15, the biopsy on the lymph node came back negative, meaning doctors caught the cancer quickly.
According to Schukar, the surgery took roughly 6.5 hours, which was about an hour and a half more than anticipated. However, doctors told her there were no complications.
With the mastectomy out of the way, Schukar begins the recovery process.
For now, she’s feeling good.
“It all depends on the day and the moment; nobody wants to hear they have breast cancer,” Schukar said.
The support from the community has helped pick her up when she’s down though.
“It’s just been amazing; I couldn’t ask for better support,” Schukar said. “Everybody around has been great. It’s been overwhelming to know that everybody’s there.”
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The statistics are not good. Cases of sexually transmitted infections are surging, and young people are taking the brunt of this troubling trend.