A Routine Mammogram Saved Breast Cancer Survivor

edoebel | October 9th, 2019


Barb Zeigler, a wife, mother and grandma, knew the importance of scheduling a regular mammogram. Little did she know, she would become the poster child of why you should get your annual screening.

It all started with a routine mammogram, something she has done for years. Barb went in on a Thursday and was called back the same day to schedule another screening. Everything moved quickly from there, although it felt like an eternity.

On the following Monday, she had her second mammogram and about 2 hours later she had a biopsy. The lump was ¼ of the size of an eraser. So small, even Dr. Jason Dierking, BVRMC General Surgeon, was surprised it was found on the mammogram.

By Wednesday, Dr. Ingrid Franze, BVRMC Radiologist, called Barb at work and she heard the words “You have breast cancer.”

“You think you can prepare yourself, but you are not prepared when you hear those words,” says Barb.

Barb, admitting she doesn’t keep things to herself, called her husband Denny and family right away. Thankfully, friends and family rallied around her. Denny was her support from the beginning, having a million questions for the doctors, nurses and caretakers.

“Sometimes it is harder for the spouse or family to watch someone go through cancer. My husband had my back. He asked questions that I would not have thought of and it helped him as much as it helped me,” expresses Barb.

Because the BVRMC team caught the cancer so early, she needed only 18 sessions of radiation. Once she rang the bell after her final cancer treatment, she was ready to put cancer behind her.

Because of this experience, Barb refuses to wait to do the things she wants in life—like taking a trip to Palm Springs with a close friend in November.

“From the very beginning of my breast cancer journey, I found quality and compassion at BVRMC. The moment I walked in, the staff at BVRMC knew me and I wasn’t treated like a stranger,” expresses Barb. “It is comforting knowing Dr. Franze will read my next mammogram. They all supported me in every way possible.”

Barb wonders if she would have waited another year, what her life would be like. For those who are scared to get a mammogram, Barb advises, “Early detection truly is key. It could save your life. I urge everyone to schedule their annual checkup. Going through the slight to no discomfort is worth finding out everything is normal or, in my case, finding out early, and receiving treatment that may save your life.”

Today, Barb’s health is great and she has a new motto for life: “Don’t take things for granted. Hug your grandkids tighter. Love your husband more. Cherish your friends.”

It is never too early to get informed. This October, we encourage every woman ages 40+ to talk with their doctor about scheduling their mammogram.

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