By Kim Goodman
Special to The Meadville Tribune
BLOOMING VALLEY —
My name is Kim Goodman. I was born, raised and live in Meadville.
When I was asked about telling my story, I was a little unsure. But I am so thankful to so many people and I am so thankful to be where I am today, I couldn’t say no.
2012 didn’t start out very well at all for me. My dad, Bill Goodman, passed away Feb. 13. Then on Dec. 19, I got one of the best Christmas gifts I could have asked for. I adopted my daughter. Throughout the year I had been having pain in my upper chest around my sternum. Whenever I was feeling stressed, the pain seemed to appear, so I passed it off to just being over stressed. After a dear friend convinced me, I made an appointment to see my family doctor about it. My family doctor ordered a mammogram. I will be honest, it was my first experience at having one, so I was nervous. After the mammogram, there was an ultrasound done because of the pain I had been having. I left the hospital that day feeling as I had all along. It was just a pulled muscle. I got a letter from the hospital saying my mammogram was good, so I relaxed a little.
The holidays came and went. 2013 didn’t start off much better than 2012 did. Jan. 4, 2013, I got a phone call at work from my family doctor. She broke the news to me that I have breast cancer. I then had my first of many emotional breakdowns. I went home, texted a friend who is very strong in his faith. After some time talking to him, I put whatever was going to happen to me in God’s hands.
I was referred to a wonderful breast cancer doctor. There began the start of all my testing and visits to other doctors. Many of these doctor visits and testing I left in tears. Having had my mom, Ruth Ann Goodman, work for Hospice of Crawford County, I understood that no one knows where this could lead to.
In the beginning I didn’t want anyone outside of family and the people whom I told to know about the cancer. I am a private person and was just not ready for everyone to find out.
It did take me awhile to “come to terms” (as much as that possibly can be) with the fact that I do have cancer. I have a lot of people who have always been there, willing to listen. I am so thankful for each and every offer. I have also been blessed to find several amazing women who have unfortunately already gone through all I am going through now. They have been there for me to answer questions that only someone who has already been through it and had the same thoughts and feelings could answer.
My breast cancer doctor asked me if I wanted to do my chemo treatment in Meadville or Erie. I chose Meadville. I was then introduced to the Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute. As with a lot of my first visits, I was very nervous. I did not know what to prepare myself for. I quickly learned how amazing the people at Barco truly are! From the time you walk in the doors, there is a warm, welcoming feeling. This ranges from the ladies at the front desk to your social worker, your nurses and doctor. Chemo had its ups and downs, but I got through it. During this time you work with your doctor and primary nurse. Ask questions if you aren’t sure of something, if it is not feeling right. I was told this from the beginning. It was something I followed. No matter how large or small the question was, it was answered to the point where I felt comfortable and understood the answer.
All along this “adventure,” I have had people ask me if I as still working or not. When I tell them that I am still working, they seem to be in disbelief. For me, keeping busy is very important. It doesn’t give me time to dwell on “being sick.”
At this point I am a stage four cancer patient. Chemo is done and it did an amazing job, shrinking the cancer to the point of being gone. Now it’s time to concentrate on what I have to do for surgery. I want to have reconstruction done, so the doctor referred me to a great plastic surgeon. I also was referred to a cardiovascular surgeon. The reason for having to see him is because of the cancer laying so long on my sternum it had gone into the bone. At first it wasn’t sure if any of the sternum or other bones would have to be removed. The surgery date hadn’t been set yet, but all the doctors were together in knowing what needed to be done. The date was set for Sept. 5 for surgery. I had so many emotions leading up to that day. Sept. 5 arrived — a very emotional morning. I had three doctors working on me that day. My mom told me surgery time was about six hours and 35 minutes. I am feeling blessed to be feeling as well as I do. I will soon be starting radiation and then after that another surgery for reconstruction.
There is a long road ahead, but as I have said from the start, “I don’t have time to be sick! I have a beautiful daughter to watch grow up!” I just want to say “thank you” to the dear Lord for letting me be where I am today. Thank you to everyone, family and friends, for all their many prayers. And last but not least, I thank my mom, Ruth Ann, my sisters, Janet Hood and Jody Gionti, and niece for all their help. Without you, I couldn’t have done this by myself! Thank you! I love you all!
When the Barco Oncology Institute was built, I thought, what a beautiful building. I will never see the inside of it. Boy, was I wrong! I have spent a lot of time here. I am so thankful it is here! Stay strong!