Rose Boyd-Young: Turning the Page After Breast Cancer

“I’m really glad that I went to Fox Chase for treatment, and I’m especially grateful to Dr. Porpiglia and Dr. Winn.”
‐Rose Boyd-Young

Like a lot of people in 2020, my mammogram was postponed due to the pandemic.

When I finally had it done in 2021, I got a letter a few weeks later telling me I needed more scans. I went back in, and after they took some more scans, the radiologist told me I also needed an ultrasound.

By then I was thinking, “This is really weird, I’ve never had to do this before.”

So I got the ultrasound, and afterwards the radiologist came back to talk to me. She told me I should probably see someone at Fox Chase Cancer Center – East Norriton, which is near the local hospital where I had the tests done.

After that I went to work. But apparently they also sent the results to my family doctor, because he called me up and said he didn’t like what he was seeing. Once again, he told me to talk to someone at Fox Chase. I knew then and there that this was not good.

I made an appointment and saw Dr. Andrea Porpiglia, a surgical oncologist. She looked at my scans and sent me to get a biopsy. Not long after that, I got the phone call telling me I had breast cancer in my right breast.

Keeping the News Private

I work at a daycare, and I was at work when I got the call. I couldn’t speak or think, I just sat down. My coworker asked me what was wrong, and I just blurted it out. She said we would pray about it, and that made me feel a bit better.

But when I went home, I decided not to tell anyone except my closest girlfriend. I didn’t tell my family, or even my husband. I knew I needed to stay strong for this battle, and I felt that seeing them get upset and worried would bring my spirits down.

My friend took me to all my tests and appointments. It was eventually determined that I had stage 2, HER2-positive breast cancer.

Finally, after several months, it was clear that I would need to have a mastectomy, and that’s when I told my husband. I also told one of my sisters, but I still wanted to keep it very private.

I had the choice of having one or both breasts removed. I chose both, because I didn’t want my breasts to look different from each other, and I also didn’t want to ever have to worry about having breast cancer again.

A Smooth Surgery

The morning of my surgery, I got out of the car and walked into Fox Chase with my head held high. On the inside, though, I was so afraid.

But everyone at Fox Chase was so nice — they really put me at ease and made sure I was comfortable. As I was going into surgery, I started telling Dr. Porpiglia, “I don’t want to see anything. Just get it done and get me out of here!” Before I could finish the sentence, I was out.

I spent one night in the hospital and went home the next day. Honestly, I didn’t have a lot of pain. I didn’t like coming home with the tubes they put in me to drain the wounds, but those were removed about a week later.

Even though the cancer was small, Dr. Porpiglia and my oncologist, Dr. Jennifer Winn, wanted me to do chemotherapy afterwards to make sure it didn’t spread. Because I didn’t know what to expect, I was worried. But really it wasn’t that bad.

I received a low dose, and it didn’t make me sick or nauseous. The nurses gave me Benadryl to prevent any allergic reactions, so I’d just sleep right through it.

I received chemo for 12 weeks, along with a cancer-blocking medication that continued for a year. After my last appointment, Dr. Porpiglia told me the cancer hadn’t spread. “We got it all —you’re good,” she told me. That felt great.

Back to Work

Today at age 65, I’m feeling good. I’m back to work and doing all the things that I used to do before the cancer.

When I’m not working, I love to read. I read all kinds of books, but I especially like reading about people’s lives. If it’s good, I’ll read it!

I’m really glad that I went to Fox Chase for treatment, and I’m especially grateful to Dr. Porpiglia and Dr. Winn. If I had to go through it again, I’d only want to do it with those two ladies. They’re the best!

Learn more about treatment for breast cancer at Fox Chase Cancer Center.