RUSKIN, Fla. - Patti Greene's hair salon has the tools needed to help women look better, but she has one item that could make them think about their health. It's a prosthetic she created that shows what a breast cancer lump feels like.
She discovered the lump in her breast just as salons were being shut down due to COVID-19.
"I didn't panic. I just decided to put it off another day," Green recalled.
But during the initial closings and restrictions of the pandemic, she said finding a medical professional to help her was difficult.
"When I started calling people, nothing was open,” she said.
She turned to a client with a nursing background for help.
"She examined me and she said that you need to get that taken care of immediately,” said Greene.
Greene managed to get tested and it was confirmed to be cancer.
On top of that, family and friends couldn't come to appointments and treatments with her because of the pandemic.
"You're alone, you don't have anybody with you and you're going to a place you've never been before and you don't know anything about what you're about ready to do," she said.
But she said Dr. Robert Gabordi of St. Joseph’s Hospitals was reassuring.
"He said we're going to get this and we're going to get it quick.”
Greene had a lumpectomy and completed her radiation treatments.
"I never felt so happy and relieved as the day as when they called and said that everything was clear.”
She has gratitude for those who stepped in to help her in her health crisis during extraordinary circumstances.
"It took a lot of people to cure one person during this pandemic," she noted.
Cancer during COVID-19 was not easy. But Greene said there was a positive to the pandemic
"I believe that COVID saved my life. I wouldn't have stopped to take care of myself. I wake up every day happier than I ever was, happier than the day before knowing that it was going to be OK,” she added.
The American Cancer Society invites everyone to Walk Your Way, Saturday, October 17 and Sunday, October 18. You can join a team, walk with friends and family or walk on your own, wherever you are.
LINK: To find out how to participate in the virtual Making Strides events: www.makingstrideswalk.org/TampaFL