Woman battles breast cancer
October 13, 2011
In one week, Shalene Hillbrick’s life went from being a fun-loving single mom working toward her certification in healthcare internet technology, to being diagnosed with stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer.
On Sept. 8, Hillbrick, 45, found a golf ball-sized lump on her right breast. A week later the biopsy results came back positive for cancer. The Minden resident began 18 weeks of chemotherapy Wednesday.
“My first thought was, ‘Oh no, my kids,'” Hillbrick said. “It’s one thing going through this, but it’s another thing being a single mom, and going through this. It adds a whole new level of scary.”
Having triple-negative breast cancer means Hillbrick’s body won’t respond to standard cancer treatments that use hormone-based drugs. This brings her treatment options to one – 18 weeks of chemotherapy followed by six weeks of daily radiation.
“If this doesn’t work, I don’t have any options,” Hillbrick said. “I’m feeling scared. I’m feeling terrified and alone. I have no idea what I’m going to do.”
Because Hillbrick is unemployed and uninsured, she is working with the Carson Tahoe Cancer Resource Center in Carson City to find resources to help her pay for treatments.
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“I don’t think people realize when they donate to cancer foundations that a lot of them don’t use any of the money for patient care,” Hillbrick said. “I will be treated, but how am I going to pay my rent and keep the lights on?”
Hillbrick is in the early stages of her cancer diagnosis, and trying to stay positive.
“I’m going to beat it, and I’m going to finish school,” she said. “And I’m going to make it my mission that cancer donations stay local and there’s an even distribution between research and patient care.”
The Carson Tahoe Cancer Resource Center was founded in February 2000 by Minden resident and cancer survivor Ann Proffitt.
During her cancer treatment, Proffitt became frustrated by the lack of cancer education available to patients.
What began as a single group has grown into six support groups, a lending library of literature on every cancer type, their management and treatments.
The center also helps patients find financial resources and local resources available to them free of charge.
“Our goal is to help patients understand what services are available to them locally, so they can stay at home where their family and friends are,” Proffitt said. “We’re here to help cancer patients and family and friends.”
For more information on the Carson Tahoe Cancer Resource Center, call Proffitt at 445-7501.
The center is located at 1535 Medical Parkway on the hospital campus in Carson City.
To Donate to The Resource Center:
– To donate to the general fund, make check payable to Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare Foundation c/o Cancer Resource Center
1535 Medical Parkway, Carson City, NV, 89703.
– To donate to a specific area of patient care such as breast cancer, gas cards, travel expenses, etc., call Ann Proffitt at 445-7501.
– All donations are used strictly for patient needs, and stays local.