As the sun goes down each night in October, the UW Cancer Center at ProHealth Care projects a giant pink ribbon on its Pewaukee location. The ribbon honors breast cancer patients during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and highlights the importance of mammography screening for the early detection of breast cancer.
In addition to the illuminated ribbon, the cancer center is sharing the compelling stories of patients, physicians and staff in 32 videos at RelentlessTogether.org.
One of those stories is told by Daina Boppre, 37, of Dousman. Boppre’s breast cancer story began the day she was diagnosed in 2016. She had been referred to the UW Cancer Center at ProHealth Care by her primary care physician after an office visit to ask about a lump she had noticed. A mammogram indicated signs of breast cancer, so members of ProHealth Care’s breast imaging team stayed late to perform a biopsy and allow Boppre to receive the results as soon as possible.
It was the scariest time of her life. Boppre’s children were 1 and 10 years old. Along with her husband Ryan, they were her primary concern.
Boppre was immediately connected with Michelle Willman, a ProHealth nurse navigator who would be her personal contact and an important means of support during her cancer journey. Willman listened to Boppre’s concerns and made sure she understood her diagnosis and what would occur during every step of her treatment. Willman also helped Boppre schedule her medical appointments.
Boppre chose to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. She also required chemotherapy. She was frightened. Willman reassured her and connected her with a former patient who told her, “It’s going to be okay. It’s only a short period in your life. It’s going to make you stronger and healthier so that you’re here for a long time to take care of your kids.”
ProHealth physical therapist Colleen Sonderman is another of the many health care professionals who helped Boppre along her cancer journey.
“Colleen got me to be where I needed to be so that I could be a mom again and not a woman with breast cancer,” she said. “When I lost my hair, she cried with me. It was the sweetest, kindest moment.”
“This journey has changed my life,” Boppre said. “I don’t think I could have done it without the people at the cancer center.”
She said she was treated with respect by everyone she met at the UW Cancer Center at ProHealth Care. The experience gave her the strength and courage to face her diagnosis, surgeries and chemotherapy.
“I have nothing but good things to say about the care that I've received – all the love that I've received from people who were just strangers,” Boppre said. “They didn't have to give me a hug and they didn't have to hold my hand, but they did. I feel like every person that I've run into, whether it's a provider, a nurse, has been a blessing, a little angel watching over me. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
The team at the UW Cancer Center at ProHealth Care provides coordinated services to help each patient achieve optimal quality of life. Every service is designed to ensure a superior experience and make the cancer journey less daunting. Patients receive information and support so that they understand their treatment options and can make informed decisions, actively participating in their care plans.
Women should consult with their health care providers to determine the health screenings that are right for them. To schedule a mammogram, call 262-928-3000 or visit ProHealthCare.org/BreastImaging. Evening appointments are available. Immediate results are provided for weekday screenings that are completed before 4 p.m.
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For more than a century, ProHealth Care has been the health care leader in Waukesha County and surrounding areas, providing outstanding care across a full spectrum of services. The people of ProHealth Care strive to continuously improve the health and well-being of the community by combining skill, compassion and innovation. The ProHealth family includes ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital, ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital, ProHealth Rehabilitation Hospital of Wisconsin, ProHealth Medical Group, the UW Cancer Center at ProHealth Care, Moreland Surgery Center, ProHealth AngelsGrace Hospice, ProHealth Home Care, ProHealth West Wood Health & Fitness Center and ProHealth Regency Senior Communities. Learn more at ProHealthCare.org.