The last place Anne Lombardi wanted to be last New Year’s Eve was in a doctor’s office.
But the Brookfield resident kept her regularly scheduled appointment with her obstetrician, Dr. Rebecca Hanigosky, of Hermitage. Lombardi is glad she did.
Dr. Hanigosky ordered Lombardi for a mammogram, which was scheduled for Jan.18. Then, she was called back in Feb. 7 for a screening mammogram with ultrasound on. She had a biopsy on Feb. 11. Two days later, the diagnosis came – stage one triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma.
“And then it started,” Lombardi said. “Your life turns into a series of appointments.”
Lombardi tried to keep things “as normal as possible” and opted to receive treatment locally.
“You’ll have options to make decisions about your care,” Lombardi said. “I encourage people to check out their options. You have really good care available here.”
A retired registered nurse, Lombardi, 58, chose Dr. Maryann Payne of Sharon Regional Medical Center as her breast surgeon.
“Dr. Payne is so highly qualified,” said Lombardi. “I don’t think you can get better care. She had such an impact from the very beginning.”
Lombardi, who has been getting mammograms annually since the age of 38, underwent six months of chemotherapy before undergoing a lumpectomy three weeks ago.
“I chose lumpectomy because it was still an option,” Lombardi said. “Mine was aggressive, but it was caught early. Triple negative (breast cancer) is very receptive to chemo, if you’ve caught it early enough.”
Lombardi encourages women to get their mammograms annually and perform self exams.
“Avoiding a mammogram doesn’t prevent cancer,” said Lombardi. “But it’s the best screening tool we have right now.”
Lombardi still goes to work every day as a dental assistant for her son, Dr. Domenic Lombardi of Sharpsville.
“Most days I wouldn’t know I have cancer,” said Lombardi, who emphasized the importance of prayer and maintaining a positive attitude.
In addition, Lombardi has received support from both church and family.
“I’ve had great support,” Lombardi said. “It’s amazing where you find support.”
One unexpected blessing for Lombardi has been the amount of mail she has received.
“It’s very humbling that people would take time out of their day to send me a card,” said Lombardi. “It’s a cool thing. I’ve saved it all.”
Lombardi’s cancer journey continues.
“My story’s not over yet,” said Lombardi, who will begin external beam radiation in November. “You just hope and pray it’s all working.”