Iowa cancer survivor to attend Ride to support the cause
Mindy McGregor will be cancer free for four years when she takes part in the Ride to Survive bicycle challenge at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital (SGCMH) June 17.
“It’s going to be a fun time and that’s one thing that I like to do is ride my bike and have fun doing it,” she said.
Mindy was diagnosed with breast cancer, and like so many others, her diagnosis came out of left field.
“I really had no typical symptoms because the cancer was actually going into my chest wall muscle,” she said. “I was relatively healthy and very active, and aside from dry skin and hair, I felt fine. So this came out of left field.”
She credits having had a 3D mammogram with saving her life.
“I’m married to an IT guy and the only reason I opted for the 3D mammography was I thought it would be kind of cool to talk with him about it,” she said. “My insurance company wouldn’t cover it so I paid $60 out-of-pocket. Where the tumor was, it was hard to feel even knowing when it was there, but they said it really showed up clearly on the 3D. It was almost four centimeters (about the size of a walnut).”
Less than two weeks later, she was in her surgeon’s office talking options.
After viewing the biopsies and MRIs his recommendation was a bilateral mastectomy.
“I said ‘Ok,’ and he asked if I had thought about this,” explained Mindy. “We had—a lot! Angelina Jolie’s story had just hit the news. So I went with my surgeon’s recommendation. Chemo was also recommended because cancer was in my lymph nodes. The rest is a success story.”
Now Mindy is a 3D Mammogram advocate and works with organizations to try to bring about legislation that will persuade insurance companies to cover the added cost of 3D. Currently SGCMH charges $25 up-front payment if insurance coverage is not available for the 3D.
She’s so adamant about the validity of the screening that she gave her sister the gift of a 3D Mammogram.
“For me it was a gift of life,” Mindy said. “Her 3D Mammogram was negative, and in fact, her physician didn’t think it was necessary. But how do you know you don’t have something hiding that the traditional mammogram won’t detect? It was well worth the added cost.”
Four years post breast cancer, Mindy is as active as she ever was, biking and going on mini adventures with her husband and daughter visiting places they’ve never been before. Which is what is bringing her to Ste. Genevieve for the Ride to Survive.
“I was cruising the internet and was looking around southeast Missouri for a charity ride,” she explained. “I went to school at Southeast Missouri State University and remembered that there was some really beautiful country around St. Marys and Ste. Genevieve. That’s when I found you guys were having a bike ride. I’m supporting the cause. Cancer is a life changing game. I’m glad of the advances that have been made, but we need a cure.”
The Ride for Survive to benefit cancer treatment, education and research at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital will be held Saturday, June 17. Participants may choose from several course options: 30-mile ride; 15-mile ride; 8-mile ride or a 5K walk/run. There is a $25 registration fee that includes a t-shirt. Registration is available online at www.stegenevievehospital.org. For more information, call Friends Foundation Director Shawn Long at 573-883-7725.