Super Survivor is Seventh in Family with Breast Cancer, Shares Journey Via Facebook
When Lisa Woods received the news she had breast cancer, she wasn’t surprised. As the seventh woman in her family to have breast cancer, she was braced to hear the news from her doctor one day.
Lisa, who’s 46 and grew up in Springfield, has had annual mammograms since she was 26 years old, long before the age of 40 when women are recommended to receive yearly mammograms.
Her mother is a two-time cancer survivor; other women in her family who have had breast cancer are her three aunts, a grandmother and a great-aunt—all on her mother’s side of the family. Her grandmother, one of her aunts and her great-aunt all lost their battles with breast cancer.
“I had prepared myself for this for years,” she said. “I had even been thinking about a pre-emptive mastectomy.”
Lisa is one of three women who were randomly chosen as Super Survivors to be honored at this year’s Memorial’s Be Aware Women’s Fair. The sixth annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Super Survivors are women whose breast cancer journeys have been an inspiration to others. Their unique stories will be shared with fair-goers when the Super Survivors reveal their makeovers, courtesy of BJ Grand Salon and Spa, and their new outfits. Check out the reactions of our three Super Survivors when they were surprised with the news.
Lisa and her husband, Eric, were married in October 2013. They each have two boys from previous marriages, ranging from 19-year-old Jake to 10-year-old Peyton with Sam and Hunter, both 15, falling in between. While she had a huge network of friends, family and co-workers supporting her she said, “My husband and my boys were absolutely amazing.”
In July 2014, only nine months after their marriage, Lisa had her regular mammogram. This time, however, her physician’s office called because “there was a spot that looked different than last year.” She needed to come back in for additional tests.
Those tests revealed that the spot in her left breast was Stage 1 cancer, which meant the cancer was in its early stages. It had not spread to her lymph nodes.
“It was small, it was in a good area, I didn’t have any other medical problems,” Lisa said. “A lumpectomy was an option, but with my family history, I made the decision to have a complete double mastectomy.”
Lisa’s surgery was in August 2014, about a month after her diagnosis. And a month later, she started the first of six treatments of chemotherapy—one every three weeks—until she finished in December.
“The chemo was the hardest part of the whole thing,” Lisa said. “Once I figured out what I was going to do, I told my husband I wanted to write about this.”
So Lisa started a Facebook page, which she still maintains today, called “When Good Boobs Go Bad,” where she shares her cancer journey. She started the page mainly for herself, as an outlet for what she was going through, and for family, especially for her many female relatives who may one day deal with breast cancer. But they weren’t the only ones who followed her story.
“I’ve gotten a lot of support on that page from complete strangers,” she said. “A lot of survivors have contacted me through that page.”
For other women facing breast cancer, Lisa encourages them to do their research so they know what they have to deal with.
“Life is going to be different,” she said. “You’re going to have a new normal, but you can make it through and come out on the other side of it and appreciate the journey you went through.”