There is a big emphasis on women to get mammograms to help detect breast cancer. For many, they have been effective, but not for all as one of our PSA team members found out. Crew Pay Analyst Joy Koehler pushes for an additional, simpler test that helped lead to her breast cancer diagnosis. Here is her Story of Hope:
I am a survivor of breast cancer and I feel not enough emphasis is put on self-examinations. I had a normal mammogram, but because I had felt a lump, they did an ultra sound. I had a fast-growing aggressive cancer. If I had waited a year for a mammogram, I do not believe things would have turned out so well for me.
There is no history of breast cancer in my family or any kind of cancer. As part of my treatment, I took two chemo drugs every two weeks and a Nuelasta shot the day after each chemo. Today, I am cancer-free, but I am still monitored with blood tests, self-exams and mammograms.
My advice is to do self-exams monthly at the same time every month. Notify your doctor right away, if you feel a lump. If possible, ask for an ultrasound. That’s how they found mine.
Here is her story:
I wear pink for the women I volunteer and teach for through the American Red Cross’ Look Good Feel Better Program. This program provides licensed professionals, such as myself, teach women who are currently in treatment or in remission about proper skincare, makeup, hairstyle selection, wig-sizing and head-wrapping techniques. It also provides more than $200 in skincare and makeup.
These generational women are a story of hope because they are not only survivors, but thrivers in their home, workplace, church and community. Each monthly class I teach, I am amazed at the footprint that is left on my heart to strive more and complain less as I represent my beauty. These women inspire me to Look Good and Feel Better in all my circumstances.
This week’s Story of Hope comes from HR Admin Supervisor Terri Shaffer whose connection to breast cancer spans a range of people from close family to friends, but there is one common theme. Read her story:
Way too many women are affected by breast cancer. For me, I know three women who were diagnosed after going through regular mammograms:
My grandma, who I love dearly, was diagnosed in 2006 at 75 years old. She had a mastectomy, but did not have reconstructive surgery. She is now 87 and is cancer-free. She went through everything like a champ. Nothing rattled her. She is such a giver. She always takes time to be with her grandchildren, of which there are 12. She always made each of us feel very special. Even at my age, she still gives me stickers. It’s precious to be with her.
I just found out last week about a dear friend of mine who was diagnosed. She had a lumpectomy and is undergoing radiation treatments now. She’s on 15 of 25. Throughout her telling me and her treatments, she hasn’t changed her outlook. To her, going to treatment is like going to the store. She is my Sister in Christ. That is why this is just a bump in the road to her. She has hope because she believes He is going to take care of her even if it means she will go home to be with Him. It isn’t stopping her from living and giving.
A former co-worker of mine at the company I worked at before PSA was diagnosed while I was working there. She also underwent a mastectomy. It was like I went through it with her, as I was in HR and helped her with insurance and such. I’m happy to say she is now cancer-free.
All these women share two common traits: Being very strong and positive
Title: CASS (Continuing Analysis & Surveillance System) Analyst
How long have you worked for PSA? Two and 1/2 years
How long have you been in the airline industry? Where did you work before PSA? This is my first job with an airline, but have been in the aviation industry for (34) years. Prior to PSA, I managed a PART 145 Turbine Engine Repair and Overhaul facility for Dallas Airmotive that was located on the General Aviation side of Dayton International Airport.
What brought you to PSA? Career change due to company downsizing.
Give us a brief overview of what you do: The CASS Department monitors regulatory compliance for PSA. Any non-compliance events are handled through Root Cause Analysis (RCA) process and we work with various departments to put solid actions in place to prevent future occurrences.
What is one of the biggest challenges of your job? The biggest challenge is changing the culture of PSA to prioritize Safety and Compliance. We work very hard every day, and believe we are all making a difference.
If you were to give advice to PSA team members on how to prioritize safety and compliance, what would it be? Do the right thing, even if no one is watching.
Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? Alaska. We witnessed whales bubble feeding up close, which is a once in a lifetime experience, and were in awe of the natural beauty of the region. Our daughter was married in Ketchikan during that trip which made it even more memorable.
What are some of your hobbies? Family vacations, bicycling, motorcycling, disc golf, hiking and now kayaking. I don’t play hockey anymore, too old, but do ice skate as much as possible.
What do you love about working for PSA? The variety – no two days are the same. And, I work with some really great people. Our rapid growth has presented some challenges, but that makes it fun. It’s nice to know I’m helping to build the top regional airline in the country.
Would you recommend PSA and why? Yes, I would. It is a great place to start a new career. There are many paths to take with this ever- growing organization.
Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: I have a very colorful nickname (not fit for print) in our department and I wear it proudly! It was given to me by the Tech Services team and shows that our department’s visibility within the company is noticed and is directly tied to changing the culture, in a good way.
What has been the most rewarding part of your job? Satisfaction at the end of the day that I have made a difference. I have also made many new friends and have interesting co-workers. We work hard but have fun too. Halloween is just around the corner!
Tell us something no one knows about you: I can’t swim, so I am taking swim lessons. Don’t want to drown while kayaking!
I survived breast cancer 5 years ago after receiving a double mastectomy. Five years to the very week, it returned. PSA Inflight managers really stepped up with support like none other before. The AFA union reps rendered equal care and concern. However, I have learned all over again that my happiness comes from what image I give others of myself. If I show defeat or depression, I will receive pity, but if I show just a little bit of strength, that’s exactly what I’ll receive back from my supporters. Regardless of my daily fight right now, I have to have hope in myself in order for others to not only have hope for me, but for them to know that they too can make it through whatever seems to be a rough patch for themselves at any time. We are responsible for our own happiness in life. Each day I live, I can fight this. Each day I fight, it allows me Life! I had my surgery last week and will soon have chemo followed up with radiation. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to wear my pink scarf to work as I am home recovering from the surgery. But seeing pictures of my fellow flight attendants makes me so happy beyond imaginable. You see, some of them may wear it just for a change in the uniform, but 1 in 10 people will know or come in contact with someone In the Fight, a Survivor of the Fight or know someone who lost the Fight to Cancer. So whether they know it or not, seeing that Pink Scarf or Pink Tie around their neck is such a heartfelt, tearful moment for someone like me. And I thank everyone who wears pink because You help me grow strong!