Stories of Hope

Jean Powers - Breast Cancer Survivor

Jean Powers recently completed the inaugural Strength for Survivors program at the YMCA of Hannibal. She’s not only building strength but also friendships along the way. “I feel strong enough now to come back and take classes at the YMCA.”  Strong indeed. Jean is now enrolled in Body Sculpt at the YMCA of Hannibal, a class which builds lean muscles and increases strength. “I encourage people who have faced cancer to take advantage of this class. Drew is wonderful and encourages you. They knew what difficulties I was having and chose the right exercises for me. It’s a well-designed program.”

“As survivors, they taught me a lot about strength.” said, Drew Earls, Wellness Director at the YMCA of Hannibal and the instructor who taught many of the initial Strength for Survivor classes. “They came with great attitudes and ready to conquer the workouts.” Each week, participants were introduced to new workouts based on their needs. “The workouts were challenging but not so difficult that you would throw your hands up and give up,” stated Jean with a smile.

Three years ago, Jean didn’t have much to smile about when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. She had gone in for her annual mammogram and that’s when they discovered she had Stage 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. She was feeling fine, had not detected anything herself and nothing was visible, but there it was on the mammogram: Stage 1 Breast Cancer. Belinda Krchelich, RN, BSN, OCN was her nurse navigator and asked if Jean would want her to take notes while her doctor discussed the diagnosis and treatment options. This allowed Jean to focus on what the doctor was saying.

Since Jean caught her breast cancer early, it meant she had several treatment options available to her.  Jean’s path to better health was truly a team effort at the James E. Cary Cancer Center. Dr. Hirner performed a lumpectomy, then Dr. Bean immediately started her on Mammosite radiation treatments. Mammosite is a 5-day treatment option for women who catch breast cancer early. Dr. Bari then treated Jean with chemotherapy to complete her treatments. Jean has been cancer-free for several years now but still has follow-up visits with many of her doctors.

Jean’s breast cancer survivorship story is a testament to the importance of having regular mammograms. By finding it early, she was able to quickly begin treatment and is now finding the strength to stay healthy with help from the Strength for Survivors program at the YMCA of Hannibal.

For more information about the Strength for Survivors program, contact Drew Earls at the YMCA of Hannibal by calling 573-221-0586.

The Strength for Survivors program is a free 6-week exercise program for cancer survivors. It’s open to all cancer survivors. It was brought to the YMCA of Hannibal by the Life. Light. Hope. Fund, Hannibal Regional Foundation, Hannibal Regional Infusion Center, the James E. Cary Cancer Center and the Riedel Foundation.