Shawn Hotard, a wife and mother in her mid-forties, faces a diagnosis no woman wants to hear – breast cancer. Shawn is also an EJGH team member and radiology tech who understands the clinical benefits of catching cancer early. That is why she followed her physician’s advice to have frequent mammogram screenings due to her dense breast tissue, even though she had no family history of the disease. And, that decision may have saved her life.
Conventional mammograms may have missed her cancer because it does not always offer a clear enough image through dense breast tissue. Now, with the use of 3D mammography technology, EJGH radiologists can detect cancers and better differentiate between cancers and normal breast cysts.
Shawn is now undergoing chemotherapy and will have radiation therapy as part of her future regimens of treatment.
Shawn is currently four weeks into a 12-week treatment plan, receiving infusion treatments of the drug Taxol through a subcutaneous port located on her chest.
“It doesn’t hurt,” she explains. “It’s only when I’m sleeping and I happen to roll over on it. I’m suddenly made aware again that it is there. That is an odd feeling.” The port acts as a symbol, a constant reminder of the cancer.
Through this entire process, she has been extremely positive. She attributes her strength to her family and large support system of friends and colleagues.
Shawn is sharing her story with NOLA.com in an eight part series from diagnosis to survivorship. Click here to follow Shawn’s journey on NOLA.com.