Survivor Stories: Community volunteer shares her story of brain surgery and breast cancer
In 2021, Diane Tate was on stage getting ready to announce the next installment of the Baton Rouge Symphony's "Great Performer Series." Just days earlier, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Diane says bi-annual mammograms were part of her routine, but her diagnosis came as a surprise.
“I had two cyst on my right side and actually I carried them around for so long I named them Abbott and Costello. The next thing I know there’s another radiologist coming in and then another coming in. I’m like okay y’all didn’t tell me this was going to be a party. They said we found a problem on the right side and I went. I know they’re Abbott and Costello. She goes, 'No, we found a third one behind that.'”
This wouldn’t be the first time Diane would have surgery. In the year 2000, she had brain surgery to remove two hotspots that were causing her to have seizures.
“A lot of people don’t know this about me. I had brain cancer surgery in 2000, and so of course I have this huge scar on my forehead. And so when he called me to tell me I had breast cancer, I’m thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I can’t, please God, I don’t want to have chemo,' because it’s going to scare the small children because of the scars I have on my head,” Diane said.
She says her experience with epilepsy and having brain surgery helped to prepare her for whatever was to come with this diagnosis.
“It's amazing what your body can do without. You know, I have no hippocampus on my non-dominant side, so my body's fine. It's recuperating. And so it's like, okay, if I can survive that, certainly I can survive breast cancer and the surgery that goes with that,” she said.
Diane spent a lot of her time at the baton rouge general for treatment where she said the staff did everything they could to comfort her.
“They treat you like you are their family, and so you feel that way and you never feel like you are alone. You feel like they care. They’re there to listen to any fear you possibly have. I think that top notch staff is what helps you get through anything,” she said.
Diane said another thing she learned from her first battle is that a having a strong support group will help those along their journey.
“It's crazy when you realize how many women have been affected and they share their stories and it just builds on your confidence that you will get through it by hearing somebody else's story. And that’s what I hope to do here, is that I hope to deliver this hope to someone that may be suffering with this so that they are not alone, that they will get through this,” she said.
It’s been 2 years since Diane closed the curtain on breast cancer, now she takes the stage as a survivor.
“I’m Diane Tate, a wife, a mother, a friend, a volunteer of our community, of our local arts program, the Baton Rouge Symphony, and a cancer survivor.”
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