The Union Recorder

Features

October 29, 2013

Strong again

Breast cancer survivor copes through exercise

MILLEDGEVILLE — Cancer obviously takes no prisoners. The deadly disease attacks whom it wants when it wants.

Patti Weimer, athletics administrative assistant at Georgia College’s Centennial Center, is everyone’s go-to lady. The nicest person in GC athletics got terrible news during early spring 2011.

Weimer went for a yearly mammogram checkup. The doctor noticed an irregularity and called for a biopsy. 

“The biopsy came back that it was breast cancer. That happened within 10 days,” Weimer said.

The tumor was a fast growing Grade 3 form requiring immediate surgery.

The doctor used a newer treatment on Weimer. Radioactive dye went into the tumor site, which then transfers the dye to the lymph nodes. 

Fortunately, the cancer hadn’t spread, so the baseball-sized tumor was removed.

HER2-positive breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other types. Weimer still needed chemotherapy combined with radiation.

Six chemotherapy and 35 radiation treatments knocked back any appetite.

“Even water tasted like dirt to me,” Weimer said. “To keep me from going into the hospital getting so sick nurses would pump me full of fluids, and I’d make it through.”

Other side effects like hair loss came along. 

Still on the job at Georgia College, Weimer said a wig made people more comfortable.

“People are funny about seeing you not feeling well,” she said.

Jokes helped the journey back. Weimer finished the final chemo treatment that August and ditched the wig before 2012. 

Recovery took longer than expected because Weimer lost weight and felt worn down. Mental daily activities were a struggle too.

“They talk about chemo brain. For me, there was truly a chemo brain,” Weimer said. “I was just foggy and still have some amnesia about events that happened in that time.”

Personal and college work family supported Weimer throughout the process.

Georgia College’s Wellness and Recreation Center on West Campus served as Weimer’s physical and mental rebirth.

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