Lori Smith, 66, grew up on Chicago’s West Side, attending Notre Dame School for Girls and Jones Commercial High School. On November 24, 1973, Lori married Jim Smith, a Southsider. From this union, they have three daughters and five grandchildren. The only real “battle” they had in their family was Chicago Cubs or Chicago White Sox, until Lori was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), 16 years ago.
DCIS is the presence of abnormal cells inside a milk duct in the breast and is considered the earliest form of breast cancer. DCIS is noninvasive, meaning it hasn’t spread out of the milk duct. This diagnosis was just three weeks after her mom received the same diagnosis. Lori was treated with a lumpectomy and endocrine therapy at Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH).
DCIS has an excellent prognosis with appropriate treatment, however, having a history of breast cancer increases your risk of a new cancer in the future, including an invasive carcinoma.
In June 2018, Lori went in for her annual mammogram and the initial images were “all clear.” The next day, Jilma Patrick, M.D., fellowship-trained breast surgeon at LCMH, called Lori because the full images showed some concern and they wanted to perform a biopsy. The biopsy showed atypical cells and Lori underwent a lumpectomy performed by Dr. Patrick, on July 24, 2018 that revealed an invasive papillary carcinoma. She had additional surgery August 21, 2018 that showed no additional cancer cells. Lori didn’t need chemotherapy but would undergo 16 days of radiation and have to take an oral endocrine therapy pill for five years. Lori didn’t let this setback stop her from staying positive and exuding such a wonderful energy.
“I never asked why me? I just said what do we need to do to fix this.” said Smith. “I got up every morning for 16 days straight to go to my 8am radiation appointment with my husband, my rock, by my side.”
Every day after the 15 minute radiation, she would come out and her husband would take her back to their home in Palos Park. On day 16, Lori came out of the radiation room and the team of doctors and technicians and her husband were there to celebrate her completion.
Continued self-care, including ongoing mammograms, is the next step for Lori. She also plans to do some traveling with her husband. Every five years for their anniversary Lori and Jim travel. This past anniversary they celebrated 45 years, but they were unable to travel due to Lori’s health – Germany and Paris await this loving couple. Lori is very appreciative for the LCMH staff, doctors, radiation technicians, her family and especially her rock, Jim. She knows she couldn’t have made it through this without them.
Over the past 19 years, the BBCW has raised more than $6 million to support LCMH’s award-winning Comprehensive Breast Health Center and impacted the lives of thousands of breast cancer survivors. With generous community support in 2018, the BBCW was able to sustain its support of current breast health programming and continue deepening its impact with the establishment of a BBCW Crisis Fund to assist LCMH breast cancer patients with emergent financial needs within our community.
To schedule your mammogram screening online, go to www.lcmh.org/onlinescheduling today.
The 20th Annual Beverly Breast Cancer Walk will take place on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, 2019. The walk starts at 8:00 a.m. at Ridge Park located on 96th and Longwood, Chicago, Illinois. Register early to receive a t-shirt with your $30 entry fee. The entry fee for children ages 18 and under is $15. Same-day registration is $10 more for adults and $5 more for children 18 and under. T-shirt availability is not guaranteed for day-of registrants. To register, go to www.BeverlyBreastCancerWalk.org today.