MIAMI COUNTY — As a nurse, wife and mother of five, Sharon Poeppelman didn’t have time for a health challenge. But when a mammogram in late 2014 pointed to possible problems, she had no choice.
The first mammogram showed something suspicious; and the subsequent and biopsy led to a breast cancer diagnosis.
Poeppelman, a nurse at Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC), received the diagnosis from her primary care physician, who worked with Miami Valley Surgeons to schedule surgery as soon as possible.
“I was very fortunate mine was very early stage,” Poeppelman recalled. Following surgery on Christmas Eve, she began 35 radiation treatments a few weeks later at UVMC.
“The care was just phenomenal. I felt safe in their care,” she said.
Poeppelman has follow-up appointments every six months with local oncologists and has taught her daughters how to do self-examinations. She continues with her own monthly self-exams and with annual mammograms. “I am doing very well,” she said.
It’s important for women to take care of themselves, Poeppelman said, though their schedules, like hers, are often busy.
She and her husband, Kurt, have five children ranging from 13 to 20. Her journey has contributed to her two oldest daughters pursuing careers in health care, one in administration and the other in nursing.
“You have to put your health first if you want to be there for your kids,” she said. “We have to be diligent.”
Poeppelman said she hears women comment that mammograms can be uncomfortable. “They can be uncomfortable, but getting that diagnosis hurts more than anything,” she said.
The journey has made her more diligent in her life and more compassionate in her work.
“I know the fear involved with any type of diagnosis,” she said. “I think there is more compassion because it is scary to go through something like that.”
For more information on breast cancer diagnosis and treatment at UVMC, call (937) 440-4820.