GREENVILLE — Lisa Durnye was officially diagnosed with breast cancer on January 5 of last year.
“I knew something was wrong, but I wrote it off as ‘maybe I just twisted wrong and pulled a muscle,’” Durnye said. “I was having tightness in my chest, and when I would take a deep breath, it hurt. Then I started having breast pain.”
Durnye went to her gynecologist in October 2016 and asked him to do a breast exam. Her doctor was reluctant, however, and advised her to wait for her yearly exam the following February.
“Thank God I didn’t,” Durnye said. “I called the hospital, and the tech I spoke to said, ‘You know what? I would get it checked out just for peace of mind,’ so I called my doctor back and told him to go ahead and put in the order.”
Durnye went in for a diagnostic mammogram in December of 2016. Over the course of the next week she started a new job, only to find out two days later that a cancerous mass had been detected.
“I was at a new job, I didn’t know anyone, and now I had this new battle to start,” Durnye said.
Durnye’s treatment plan was aggressive. Luckily, the cancer had not spread to any other part of her body, which is why it was crucial that she didn’t wait to have the tests done. Durnye started chemotherapy in February of last year, initially receiving treatments once every two weeks.
“They were tough,” Durney said. “It attacks all the cells in your body, not just the bad ones. You are very weak and susceptible to getting sick, as your immune system drops very low. It affects you on about day three after you get an infusion, and you are down for a good four to five days after. You lose your taste buds, it tears your stomach up, and you have bone and muscle aches. It felt like I had the flu every other week.”
In time Durnye’s tumor shrank to the point it would barely show up on tests. She then had a lumpectomy and 30 rounds of radiation. Her most recent mammogram and ultrasound came back all clear.
“I have some muscle weakness and some nerve damage and arthritis, and lots of scar tissue that I didn’t have before,” Durnye said. “And shorter hair, haha! But I feel pretty good.”
Durnye has gotten a lot of support during her struggle, including from the Darke County Cancer Association and Tribute Funeral Homes, which recently awarded her with a spa package including lunch at Montage Cafe, yoga and reflexology treatment at Natural Path, and dinner at The Merchant House.
“My mother went to every chemo appointment with me,” Durnye said. “My aunt, who is also a breast cancer survivor, was with me a lot as well. I was brought goodie baskets, meals to freeze for my son, and a friend started a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses. The Winery at Versailles held a benefit for me. And Greenville Federal stepped in and helped so much with time off, as well as patience as I went through my treatments.”
Durnye had important advice for those who think they may be in danger of developing breast cancer or other ailments.
“My advice to everyone is know your body,” Durnye said. “If something doesn’t feel right, be a voice and get it checked out. As another friend with breast cancer said, ‘Be the squeaky wheel.’ Our Cancer Center here in Darke County is great. The Darke County Cancer Association is a wonderful thing we have for those struggling with cancer.”
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