Ellen Crammer // "I am thankful" 2010

Crammer-EllenJust a year ago, life was amazing for Ellen Crammer. She and her husband Tim along with their two young sons were living in Eaton, Ohio and enjoying life. She was a typical “soccer mom”- always on the go with her family’s activities.

Although Ellen kept a busy schedule, she was extremely vigilant in her annual exams, knowing that breast cancer ran in her family. Last year was no different. Ellen visited her physician, but just a month later, she found a lump in her breast.

“As soon as I found a lump, I knew exactly what I needed to do,” Ellen said. She called her physician and proceeded with tests ultimately leading to surgery. While the diagnosis was only stage one, her physicians chose to treat the cancer aggressively due to her family history and age. “I have a lot to live for – I need to be here.”

Dr. Tom Grayson was a “phenomenal” surgeon who also took time to bond with Tim. Ellen was impressed that the Reid staff cared enough to match her with physicians who had a similar personality. “I’ve got to have someone who can joke with me!” For Ellen, Dr. Qin, oncologist, fit that description.

After surgery it was time for Ellen to begin chemotherapy. This was the most difficult moment for her. One of the nurses, Kathy Macdonald, sat with her the first day and held her hand the whole way through. “She called me her special patient,” Ellen said. Kathy became a resource, not only for Ellen, but also for her husband who even called to ask questions at times. Ellen added, “It was scary, but they told me that I would get through it. Kathy reminded me that it’s not a death sentence.”

Ellen continued her regular schedule as much as possible – going to the gym and coaching – saying she was not about to quit. Tim helped by cooking or bringing home dinner and the family helped her laugh. “When my hair fell out my son Tyler wanted to see. Then he said ‘Well, now it doesn’t take as long to get ready!’”

The process cultivated many new friendships at Reid Hospital. “Their sense of humor is amazing,” said Ellen. “The rapport they develop is amazing!” Though some people suggested she drive to Cincinnati for her care, the couple let them know, “You don’t have to drive to Cincinnati – Reid has the same stuff right here at home. Driving would have been a nightmare.”

Now, Ellen is at the next stage in the process, only needing one treatment per week. Her determination gave her the strength to run a 5K race with Tim in June. “I’m stronger than I thought I was – I can still do it!” she exclaimed.

Ellen’s perspective has changed over the past year. She no longer worries about having a perfectly clean home or over spilt milk. She is simply happy to be spending her days with her family.

“It worked!”

Community Benefit Mammogram Program

Reid sees approximately 85 patients per year with breast cancer.  Some of these patients, like Ellen, find the cancer themselves through self-examination without the assistance of a digital mammogram. For others, however, constraints have made that choice for them as regular exams are not affordable.

“In the last week, I have seen two women with huge tumors, because they didn’t think they could afford mammograms,” said Kathy Macdonald, RN. “It’s important for women to discuss financial need with their physician who can refer them to Reid’s mammography program.”

Reid Hospital Foundation provides 500 no-cost mammography screenings per year for women in our community who are unable to pay.  These are made possible through BRAvo! and donations.

“The difference is catching something early that is treatable.”

To make a secure online donation to this fund, click here.