SHEBOYGAN – Like a lot of daughters, Sandy Flipse Claerbout has a history of breast cancer in her family. Her mother is a breast cancer survivor, but never had to go through treatment.
Sandy’s situation was different. After being diagnosed with breast cancer herself, her treatment included a lumpectomy, a lymph node biopsy, 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation. For Sandy, the side effects of treatment were minimal – she felt some fatigue, but never got really sick. It made losing her hair that much more bearable.
The biggest impact
It’s not the treatment or side effects Sandy remembers first. It’s the expert care she received from Dr. Judy Tjoe, who performed her biopsy, and the compassionate care she received at the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic at Aurora Cancer Care in Sheboygan.
“Everyone there makes the best of a bad situation,” Sandy said. “From my oncologist, Dr. Kumar, to the nurses who administered my chemotherapy, I felt close to all of them.”
Her nurse navigator even sent her a card while she was undergoing treatment. Her caregivers made sure to stop by for a visit to see how she was doing, and they were always ready to help. Sandy never felt like she was interrupting or taking up too much of their time.
“In fact,” she admitted, “Ending treatment is bittersweet. You’re thrilled it’s over. But then you wonder, ‘When will I see these great people again?’”
Like many survivors, Sandy wanted to find a way to help others who are fighting cancer. She walked last year with her 21-year-old daughter in Sheboygan’s first ever Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer. She did well fundraising, so it was a way to give back to those at the clinic who gave her so much.
“The great thing about the walk was I got to see my caregivers again.”
She’s planning to walk this year to say thanks again and to reconnect with the team that saved her life.
“Everyone at Aurora is so fabulous,” she concluded. “They are angels on earth.”
How you can help
Sign up for one of 10 Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer events near you. Money raised will support local cancer care and research initiatives by Aurora Cancer Care and is eligible for a 50 percent match from the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation.
All proceeds from the Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer will stay local. To see all walk locations and join the team, go to LombardiWalk.org.