Survivor Profile: Jean Minges
Because of this, Mrs. Minges made certain that her breast health would be evaluated at least three times a year, by scheduling her OB-GYN appointment, her appointment with her surgeon and her mammograms or breast MRIs to occur so they were separated by four month intervals. In October 2013, a small spot of breast cancer was detected through a breast MRI.
After her diagnosis and conferring with her doctors, Mrs. Minges chose to come to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center for Latisimus Dorsi Flap Reconstruction surgery, which was to immediately follow her bi-lateral mastectomies allowing her to have the removal of the cancer and reconstruction at one time. This plan both saved her from doing two different surgeries and promoted a quicker resumption of her active lifestyle. She was able to return home two days after surgery and she was released to exercise, garden and resume her normal work at Allied Realty in Tuscaloosa six weeks later.
“I don’t think anyone is adequately prepared to hear the word, ‘cancer’ whether it applies to you or to someone you love," she says. "I chose UAB because my medical team offered me a surgical option for reconstruction that I didn’t have in Tuscaloosa. I was very impressed with UAB and the support I received from my entire health care team. I received a tremendous amount of encouragement in a very intense experience.”She was able to return home two days after her surgery, and she returned to work at Allied Realty in Tuscaloosa six weeks later.
Her message to women is to be proactive. She knows the importance of early detection first hand and encourages those with a history of cancer to be especially diligent.
“Be conscious. Do self-exams and be compliant to the process of getting mammograms, MRIs and exams from physicians.”
She says the overarching thing she is left with after her intense four months is a sense of blessing.
“Every experience I had with the people at UAB was a blessing,” she says. “Every day I wake up and thank God for my life.”Mrs. Minges is passionate about cancer patients and wants to be a resource to other people with cancer, especially women with breast cancer.
“I was blessed with a guide who reached out to me,” she says. “If you’ve had cancer, reach out and be a blessing.”
Mrs. Minges is a true testament to other cancer patients and survivors. If you are interested in giving to breast cancer research, visit the Cancer Center’s website at uab.edu/cancer or the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama at www.bcrfa.org.
“This was not a wasted experience; it was a bigger way to appreciate life.”