October 2, 2014

Elyria
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Facing cancer: Wanda Fralick, 61, Grafton

Her first detection: On her 61st birthday in June, Fralick discovered a lump in her breast while she was taking a shower. “I just kept that all to myself, I didn’t tell anybody. I didn’t tell any of my four kids until after,” she said.

Her diagnosis: She had a biopsy in July and was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer that was not present in her lymph nodes.

The C-word: Fralick could hardly walk into the doctor’s office because she knew what they were going to tell her. “That C-word, it’s just devastating,” she said, adding that her sister had ovarian cancer and died from it when she was 42. And her husband was killed a few years ago in an industrial accident at work. “I’ve been through a lot in my life, and I just figure we’ll deal with this, and we will. I know you have to live one day at a time and do it to the best that you can. We’ll get through it, myself and my kids.”

Her surgery: She had a lumpectomy on Aug. 14 and the tumor was removed. Her cancer is considered Stage 2 because of the size of the tumor. “Whether it was benign or cancerous, it was coming out no matter what. I didn’t want it in there,” she said.

Her treatment: Fralick, who had her first chemotherapy treatment on Sept. 22, expects to have weekly treatments for close to a year.

On losing her hair: “That’s when I really went down, but I don’t have that great a head of hair anyway, so I’ll just kick it under the covers when it falls on the bedroom floor,” she said with a chuckle. “I have a son who is getting married in February, and I told him, ‘I’m sorry Chris, I’m going to be bald.’ But they have such cute hats from the American Cancer Society, I had to order some.”

Her advice to other newly diagnosed women: “Everybody is fearful of the unknown, and this is the unknown. Don’t be afraid. If you find something, get into the doctor’s. A lot of people bury their head in the sand, and they can’t do that. They have to get help right away. And I’m finding out there is a lot of help out there. Don’t be shy. Don’t back away from them, get the help. Keep going and take all these programs in if you can.”

What gives her strength: “I have been reading survivor stories; some of them are really terrific. I have ‘A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors’ and ‘Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor’s Soul.’ I keep reading them and thinking these people are amazing.”

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Contact Chrissy Kadleck at 329-7155 or ckadleck@chroniclet.com.