Jan Lindemann: Making a Tough Decision With the Support of Two Mentors
— Abby Padilla, ABCD Marketing & Communications Specialist
March 20, 2023
After learning that her biopsy showed cancer and hearing her surgeon’s recommendation for a lumpectomy followed by radiation, Jan Lindemann was scared. Jan had experienced side effects from radiation in the past, suffering several health problems as a result. Although Jan understood that radiation techniques had improved over the years, she was still very concerned about the proposed treatment plan; in fact, it literally terrified her.
When Jan shared this concern with her surgeon, she asked if a mastectomy was an option. The surgeon explained it was, and was very understanding of the situation and her fears. This left Jan with an important decision to make.
Jan decided she needed to talk with someone who could relate to her situation. Her initial thought was to contact a local support group in New York, but she was unsure if it would be the right setting for her. What she really wanted was information. With help from her daughter, Jan came across ABCD. She liked the idea of one-to-one customized support; still, she continued to look for additional options. After Jan reached out to a social worker at New York University, she was surprised when the person referred her to ABCD.
That moment was an important one. As Jan puts it, “Ok, this is telling me something and that’s when I decided to go onto ABCD’s website and find the link!”
Jan utilized several services ABCD offers, from a guide with information on national resources to the Mentor program. After contacting ABCD, Jan was soon connected with Carrie Williams, one of our Match Specialists. Jan describes the intake process as beneficial and a wonderful experience. During Jan’s intake interview, Carrie suggested that talking with two Mentors would be extremely helpful – an option Jan wasn’t aware was a possibility. Within a few short days, Jan was put into contact with her Mentors, one of whom had a lumpectomy, and one of whom opted to have a mastectomy.
Jan recalls how open her Mentors were with their experiences, and their willingness to share. For Jan, these conversations – via phone and later text messages – helped greatly as she made her final decision. Each Mentor asked Jan to follow up and let them know how things went, which made Jan feel truly connected and cared for.
After speaking with her Mentors, Jan met with a radiation oncologist, who explained she might not need radiation after all. This was news to Jan as well as her surgeon! But even if radiation were necessary, Jan now felt less fearful about the prospect – thanks to her Mentors. “I didn’t need to be as terrified as my initial reaction was,” she says.
Jan is grateful to her Mentors and ABCD for the opportunity to have candid conversations centered around each treatment option. Jan has generously donated to ABCD in honor of her two Mentors, who helped her make the decision that was right for her.