Sisters battle breast cancer together
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
1/29/13 at 8:12 AM
Sisters Joey Kanter and Lynn Wallace are very different people. Wallace describes herself as more yoga, while Kanter is more Zumba.
But they have their similarities. They just wish breast cancer wasn't one of them.
The sisters were diagnosed within a month of each other late last year. Neither had a lump, and the family doesn't have a history of breast cancer.
Kanter went in for a routine mammogram around November. Although she's only 39, she considered herself somewhat of a high risk for breast cancer because she had previously taken fertility drugs.
"I just figured, 'Why not?' " she said.
Doctors found something and did a biopsy. On Nov. 16 she was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, which is more serious and requires more intensive treatment than other types.
Kanter, a stay-at-home mom with two young boys, has been undergoing chemotherapy and will soon have surgery. Radiation comes after that.
For Wallace, doctors had seen a spot of potential concern in 2010 but told her it was a lymph node and nothing to worry about. Late this year she pushed for more testing and went to different doctors until a tumor was found.
"I really had to search for the right set of doctors, and I really had to be my own health advocate," said Wallace, who works as a librarian at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa.
She received her diagnosis just before Christmas. She will also have surgery soon and radiation will likely follow, she said.
The sisters deal with their diagnoses in vastly different ways.
Kanter said she relies on her sense of humor, and she does whatever doctors tell her.
She had a head-shaving party and has been known to sport a blue wig at times.
Wallace dove into research to find out everything she could about breast cancer.
"Every person is going to be different how they handle a diagnosis like this. Even sisters," she said.
Wallace also has a young boy at home, and the cousins are as close as brothers, she said.
The sisters support each other.
They sometimes go to doctor's appointments together and watch one another's children.
They know that life still goes on.
"You still have to go to work. You still have to come home and be a mom," Kanter said. "Put your best foot forward."
As adults, the sisters have always been close. They've been through a lot together, Wallace said.
"We have had a lot of bumps in the road," Wallace said. "This is just one more."
Original Print Headline: Doubling their odds
Shannon Muchmore 918-581-8378
Joey Kanter (left) and Lynn Wallace were diagnosed with breast cancer within a month of each other. The sisters support each other but have found different ways to deal with their diagnoses. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World
Sisters Lynn Wallace (left) and Joey Kanter are facing the same disease — breast cancer — but are facing it in different ways. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World