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Peggy Fisher

Peggy Fisher, Breast Cancer

Peggy Fisher, 54, is a vivacious, outgoing breast cancer survivor of a double mastectomy, as well as a satisfied post-op patient of reconstructive surgery. Her initial mammography turned up a Stage 1.5mm lump, as well as abnormal tissue in her second breast. She says, "Getting that kind of news turns your world upside-down so I can't emphasize enough how essential it is that you have a positive team of caring health professionals on your side from 'Hello' and breaking the news, all the way through pre-op, anesthesia, post-op, physical therapy-the works! I feel very fortunate that I found that at Torrance Memorial."

Peggy credits Dr. Patricia Sacks who specializes in radiology and diagnostics for the lifesaving early detection on her annual mammography. "My tests were done in a 21st century state-of-the-art complex that was really pretty neat," says Peggy. She performed another mammography to be sure, and finally a biopsy that left no doubt about the abnormal tissue. Peggy says, "That's what's so wonderful about Dr. Sacks, she's very thorough and I was very fortunate that she caught it right at the very beginning. I can't emphasize enough, the importance of early detection. Without it, I wouldn't be here today to talk about my experience. So don't let little problems become big problems. It's easier to solve little problems and get on the path to something more positive."

Peggy's friend went through the same experience six months before her. She was the one that referred Dr. Melanie Friedlander for the mastectomy, and Dr. Michael Newman for the reconstructive surgery, or as Peggy refers to them, "The Dynamic Duo," also at Torrance Memorial.

On meeting and working with her doctors, Peggy recalls, "They are two of the nicest people in the world, very caring and genuine. I had a checklist of 20 questions for them and they each took them all very seriously. Dr. Friedlander is very attentive, thoughtful and sincere. As for Dr. Newman, she says, "His bedside manner is beyond belief! He's very focused on his patients. They are both fabulous at what they do and they make a great team."

Peggy appreciates that her doctors involved her in many of the decisions regarding her care as possible. She also says, she was happy to follow the doctors' orders between surgeries. "Dr. Newman handed me a booklet and said, 'Do exactly what I tell you to do.' Having sound instructions for something so crucial is one less thing to worry about."

Peggy recounts, both Dr. Friedlander and Dr. Newman showed incredible understanding throughout her care. "Even long after my surgeries, I consulted Dr. Friedlander and she was right there for me, taking time to address my concerns."

Peggy's upbeat attitude certainly contributed to her speedy recovery. She focused on getting in better shape before each of her three surgeries. Now she feels like she's in the best shape ever and has returned to her avid cycling regime. She even completed the Annual Cool Breeze Century Ride, a 66-mile ride for charity up the California coast.

Offering some final advice, she assures, "Anyone can be like me with the right people looking out for you. It's great that these doctors are always there with a reassuring hug or a pat on the shoulder and words of encouragement. That's part of the healing process that shouldn't be underrated. It's so important to a survivor's success."