Heather Dickman

2020 Model Survivor

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer right after Thanksgiving 2018. I had gone for my very first mammogram at age 45 because I had Addison when I was 39 and Asher when I was 41 and breastfed them both for a little over a year. I had not noticed the fairly large lump on my left breast but the team at St. Luke’s was excellent and compassionate as they did the mammogram, then an ultrasound and finally a biopsy. I was grateful that the doctor told me right then she was sure it was cancer rather than waiting.

My children are the most important thing in my life. Addison was six and Asher was three when I was diagnosed. At the request of many friends, I had a second opinion at KU where I chose to proceed with treatment. Dr. Anne O’Dea has been a blessing. My treatment plan was left breast mastectomy and sentinel node biopsy followed by chemotherapy and oral hormone blocking therapy.

The support I received from my friends and family was absolutely amazing. They brought meals 4-5 times a week for 4 months. My wonderful girlfriends brought cards, flowers, wine, blankets and gifts and came to visit non-stop. They attended doctors appointments, chemo sessions and reconstruction surgeries in New Orleans. The love I received was an absolute blessing.

I chose to have Diep Flap Reconstruction instead of an implant. This procedure was performed at The Center for Breast Reconstruction in New Orleans by Dr. Wise. The Center is a wonderful place for treatment and healing.

I have been with my company, The Dixie Group, for 17 years. They were very supportive through this journey and they insisted that I take time to heal. My children and I enjoy the Lake of Ozarks, spending time outdoors and reading books. I am happy to be near the end of my cancer journey and hope that I can help others as I was so fortunate to receive love and support throughout this past year.