The Pearls & Pumps event on March 21 at the Omni benefits Baptist Health Foundation of Greater Louisville and is a day to celebrate cancer survivors. This year, Jackie Solomon and Michelle Henderson are the two patient honorees featured at the event.
In January 2019, the week before her 36th birthday, Michelle Henderson was diagnosed with ER/PR-positive breast cancer in her left breast. She discovered her first lump by doing self-exams. “Through mammograms, diagnostic ultrasounds and biopsies we learned I had more than one tumor and it had traveled into my lymph nodes,” she says.
She underwent 16 weeks of chemo, did well with radiation and opted for a full bilateral mastectomy. Her body wound up rejecting the expanders from the surgery, so over the course of a month she had three scar revisions. Pathology results then showed a combination HER2-positve and HER2-negative diagnosis, so she had the port put back in and is doing chemo until October 2020.
Michelle is single mother to two daughters and is a global contract specialist at Honeywell Commercial Security.
From her work and dance family, she has learned “No one here fights alone” and it’s more than a motto.
“Baptist Health holds a special place in my heart,” says Michelle. “From my surgeon, oncologist, plastic surgeon and all the way to the Cancer Center therapy staff, I have felt as though my care was as important to them as it was to me. They were always able to ease my fears, control my worries and give me the peace of mind every cancer fighter needs. The Cancer Resource Center is a true patient sanctuary.”
Jackie Solomon was diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) in October 2018. A mammogram caught it extremely early. The week before Christmas that year, Dr. William Hoagland at Baptist Health performed a lumpectomy on her right breast.
“I truly feel you need to have trust with your surgeon to go into surgery with a positive feeling and outlook, and that’s exactly what I had,” says Jackie. The surgery was a success, showing clear margins and no issues in the sentinel lymph nodes, yet radiation was recommended.
“Two days before my radiation appointment, I felt led to take a pregnancy test and it was positive,” she says. “While we wanted a third child, we expected that to happen after radiation.”
Little Ethan arrived on Sept. 8, 2019, and then Jackie completed 21 radiation treatments from mid-October to mid-November. When people would ask about side effects, she told them she couldn’t tell the difference between radiation fatigue and new-baby sleep deprivation. He is a happy, easy baby and his two big sisters can’t get enough of him.
“The care I received at Baptist Health was unparalleled,” says Jackie. In addition to her surgeon, she is grateful to radiation oncologist Dr. Carole Scharf. “The radiation techs were caring and sweet, helping to make a scary, vulnerable, trying experience into something manageable and even comfortable at times. I am thankful to have worked with the people I did.”