St. Luke Hospital Mammogram Technologist Dian Hickethier may have saved my life this year.
She’s the best kind of fierce warrior against breast cancer. Dian is on the front lines. Not only is she very good at doing comfortable mammograms, she follows through with the kind of proactive support that can make the difference between life and death.
This summer, when my mammogram showed something suspicious, Dian steered me where I needed to go. Not shy about getting on the phone and making sure things are happening as they should, she saved me from falling through the cracks with early stage breast cancer.
Thank you, Dian.
I think she is St. Luke Hospital’s Employee of the Year.
I met Dian in 2013, at the annual Women 4 Wellness health fair at Salish Kootenai College. Women 4 Wellness fulfilled their mission for me. I owe them a huge thanks. At that fair, I was impressed with Dian’s information about the St. Luke mammogram program. She helped me get a cancer screening program voucher and I went to her for my 2013 mammogram. I liked her so much, for the first time I made a commitment to having annual mammograms – with her. It’s so much easier to make that commitment when the mammogram tech makes you comfortable in an empowering way.
So this year, back I went to Dian for my second annual mammogram. There it was: a shadow. She took more mammogram images. Enter Dr. Howard, who looked at all the images – including ultrasound – and wisely decided we needed to consult with a Missoula surgeon who specializes in breast cancer surgeries. I owe Dr. Howard a huge thanks, too.
The surgeon recommended that I get a biopsy of that mass. Turns out it was papillary carcinoma – an extremely rare form of breast cancer that occurs among postmenopausal women (I call it my Strange Old Lady Cancer). I had a lumpectomy and partial breast radiation at Community Medical Center in Missoula. Thanks to early detection by mammogram, I did not have to have chemotherapy and I have a very good prognosis.
I know I am one lucky woman. For years I have been a slob about getting mammograms. We have no family history, I thought, I’m never going to have breast cancer.
The moral of this story is, get your annual mammograms. Early detection is what you want. Find someone with whom you’re comfortable, someone who cares, someone with whom you can commit to an annual mammogram schedule.
Someone like Dian.