Teresa Bennett has a new message for everyone she greets:
“Don’t wait! Don’t wait to get your annual mammogram, and don’t wait to get any of your tests,” she said. “It could save your life – it did mine.”
Teresa, owner of Lady Lu Boutique in downtown Elizabethtown, has always had anxiety when it came to anything related to medicine or doctors, so she was extremely behind on the preventative screenings that a woman in her mid-50s should be having. She hadn’t had a colonoscopy, and it had been almost two decades since her last mammogram. She didn’t even have a primary care physician.
But then one day, she happened to meet Dr. Amanda Chism of Baptist Health Medical Group Internal Medicine and Pediatrics.
“She was so sweet and friendly and professional, I just thought, ‘this seems like someone I would feel comfortable with,” Teresa said.
She made an appointment with Dr. Chism, and explained her anxieties to her. Dr. Chism wanted her to get some tests and instead of sending her to a lab, she did some of them right there in the office because she was worried Teresa wouldn’t show up for the lab test, given her anxieties.
She also scheduled her for a mammogram, and Teresa found the strength within herself to go. Within a few days, she received a personal call from Dr. Chism.
“She said, ‘Now Teresa, they have found something, and they want you to come back so we can get further clarity. I know you’re afraid and I thought it might be better if you found out directly from me.”
Teresa had an ultrasound, and then a biopsy, and the results came back – early stages of invasive ductile carcinoma in her right breast.
“At that point everything started moving so quickly and I met with the Baptist Health Hardin Cancer Care team right away,” she said. “They were incredible. The news turns your world upside down. But I had a wonderful team who were with me every step of the way.”
Teresa said she wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere else for her treatment.
“I felt my breast cancer treatment was top notch from start to finish.There’s no doubt about it, they saved my life,” she said. “I waited too long to get these important tests and I won’t wait again. I won’t let my family wait and I won’t let my friends wait. I tell everyone I know -– ‘Don’t wait!’”