Rebecca Dedert recently stepped into the role of Women’s Health Navigator for Quincy Medical Group’s (QMG) oncology team. It’s a role she feels very personal about.
In 2017, Rebecca was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine screening mammogram. “I had my mammogram, and then I got a call letting me know I would need a second mammogram. I had callbacks before and I thought ok I’ve been called back before everything will be fine. But, when I went back for that second mammogram, something felt different this time. “
After her second mammogram, she had to have a biopsy. She still couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. She had to wait a few days to get the results. When she got the call, she had just gotten home from work. “I told my doctor you can call me, you don’t have to bring me back in. Just call me. I had just literally walked in the door from work and my phone rang. I will remember that moment forever.”
Her diagnosis was invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer. “When you hear you have cancer, you don’t hear a lot more after that. I just remember feeling this isn’t supposed to be me.”
Her mammogram, she says, saved her life. Her cancer was caught early and was a grade 1. After meeting with her doctor, she had a plan in place. She had surgery to remove the tumor and some of the tissue surrounding it. Surgery was followed by radiation. Now in remission, she takes an oral pill which she’ll continue to take for another 5 to 10 years.
The diagnosis and experience have changed her. “Do I still live with the fact that it could reoccur? Yes. Do I live in fear of that? You can’t because otherwise, it would consume you. You learn a new perspective on life. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes something like this to shake up your world. Things that used to bug me, don’t bug me anymore. You learn to appreciate people a little bit more. “
For Rebecca, working in oncology was always something she felt very passionate about, but having gone through cancer herself she has realized there is no other place she would want to work. About two months ago, Rebecca took on the role of Women’s Health Navigator. A role she truly sees as her calling. “I feel blessed and honored. I come to work every day and I love this job. I love that I can be there for these women.”
When she meets with patients, she said she shares her experience to let them know she understands and has been in their shoes. “Patients know they can call and ask me anything. I love that they feel they can cry on my shoulder. If they want to get mad and scream at me, it’s ok. It’s allowed. It’s alright to be angry. It’s ok to be mad and cry, and have those bad days, but you can’t live there. I love that they know they can trust me enough to be there for that process.”
To learn more about our patient navigator program, visit quincymedgroup.com.