Gina Grover is originally from St. Paul, Minnesota and now lives in Venice.
When were you diagnosed and at what age?
I was diagnosed in 2018 at the age of 48 with Stage I breast cancer.
What kind of treatment did you receive?
I had a lumpectomy and radiation. I also have to take tamoxifen for five years.
Did you face any obstacles? If so, how did you overcome them?
I wouldn’t say I faced any obstacles. My story of breast cancer survival isn’t about the challenges I faced once diagnosed. The story I want to tell is about the importance of early detection.
My Stage I breast cancer was found during a routine mammogram last year. With no family history of any kind of cancer, it was a shock, but knowing it was caught early and was totally treatable made it easier to process.
What was the most challenging part of your experience?
Admitting I needed to take some time off from work to heal. I work for a relocation management company — it’s a desk job — but the radiation caused fatigue and inability to concentrate.
Where did you find the greatest support?
My friends and family. They were always sending me flowers and gifts or funny texts to make me laugh. My immediate family is local — in Cape Coral and Port Charlotte — but my in-laws are still up in Minnesota.
How has this experience affected your relationships with family and friends?
I’m very open in talking about the physical changes my surgeries and radiation have had on my breast, which may make some uncomfortable.
How has this experience changed you? What have you learned about yourself?
After all the medical professionals that have seen me topless, I’m a lot less shy than I used to be.
I’m also often asking my friends when they had their last mammogram and I tell them that I’m proud of them when they tell me they got a mammogram.
What advice would you give to others?
Get your annual mammograms.