Health & Wellness
The Garden City Telegram
than it took. It’s not the worst
thing that’s ever happened to me.
It renewed my faith in humanity.”
Wright-Renick went to the
doctor for a routine breast exam,
and her doctor found a small
lump. After a sonogram, it was
determined to be benign.
After Wright-Renick noticed
some changes in the lump, she
went back to the doctor and
found out she had breast can-
cer. She was diagnosed on May
She had a double mastectomy
and reconstructive surgery on
June 12, 2012, in Wichita, and
started her first chemotherapy
treatment on July 21, 2012.
Her last treatment was in Janu-
ary of this year. She went through
16 doses of chemo for 24 weeks.
Her final surgery was on May 9,
and she graduated from the Uni-
versity of Kansas with a bachelor’s
degree in nursing on May 18.
Once she was diagnosed,
Wright-Renick, a nurse at St.
Catherine Hospital, was diag-
nosed with breast cancer when
she was 33.
and mother had breast cancer,
so she had been doing self-
exams her whole life. She didn’t
expect to be diagnosed with
cancer in the middle of her life.
“Cancer took a lot from me.
It took my hair, my breasts, my
false sense of security,” she said.
“By far, cancer’s given me more
By Monica Springer,
Special to The Telegram
As a nurse, it’s Heather Wright-Renick’s job to save lives.
In May 2012, her own life needed to be saved.
Wright-Renick said, she couldn’t
find anyone her age who was go-
ing through the same thing.
“I wanted somebody that
could tell me, ‘How do you
go through what we’re going
through as a mom?’ ‘How do
you go through what we’re going
through with young children?’
Right in the middle of our life,
30 years old, I couldn’t find any-
body who had been through it.”
Once word of mouth spread
about her diagnosis, Wright-
Renick started talking to people
about breast cancer. She’d get
phone calls from other women
going through the same disease.
“I made breast friends through
it,” she said. “These people be-
came my friends because there
was a need.”
Wright-Renick also went to
MD Anderson Cancer Center in
Houston for a second opinion.
Over the Fourth of July holiday,
she took her family to the pedi-
atric unit to watch the fireworks.
She said she found it difficult to
feel sorry for herself when she
saw so many children suffering.
“I consider my cancer my bless-
ing,” she said. “At least I got to
experience a job, kids, and a hus-
band. Give it to me, not to them.”
Early Detection Works is a program
that pays for screenings for Kansas
• Are 40 to 64 years of age. Women
younger than 40 with breast or cervi-
cal problems should call for possible
• Do not have insurance.
• Meet certain income guidelines.
For eligible women, Early Detection
• Pelvic exams for women ages 40 to 64.
• Conventional Pap tests annually until
there have been three normal Pap tests
in a five-year period. At that time, Pap
tests will be reimbursed every 3 years.
• Liquid-based Pap tests every two years
until there have been three normal
pap tests in a five-year period. At that
time, Pap tests will be reimbursed ev-
ery three years.
*Limited services for uninsured women younger than
40. For more information, call (877) 277-1368.
If one of the tests shows a problem, the
Early DetectionWorks programwill pay
for other tests needed to make a diagno-
sis. For more information, visit preven-
tionworkskansas.com or contact Lauren
Base, Early Detection Works Coordina-
tor, at 275-5302 or at edwcoordinator@
United Methodist Mexican-