Maria Balestrieri – Breast and Endometrial Cancer
In May of 2005, Dr. Adam Brufsky called me at 8:30 p.m. to tell me the results of my recent mammogram: breast cancer. Although the diagnosis was scary, I was immediately comforted in the fact that my oncologist took the time to call me directly. The next day, I met with all of my cancer care teams, had a CT scan, bone scan, and breast MRI, and I had a treatment plan. My mother had been a patient of Dr. Brufsky's in the Magee-Womens Breast Cancer Program, so I knew I was in good hands.
Following my treatment for breast cancer, I enjoyed two years of remission. Then, in 2007, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. I found myself in the equally skilled and caring hands of the team in the Magee-Womens Gynecologic Cancer Program. The attention and the level of care and concern I received were phenomenal.
It was in 2007 that I attended a survivor breakfast hosted by UPMC and learned about the Pink Steel dragon boat racing team - a Pittsburgh-based group of breast cancer survivors who train and compete in dragon boat racing. I decided to join the team and it has changed my life. During my first Pink Steel race, I was so inspired. I was amazed at how strong these survivors were, and for the first time, I realized I was one of those strong people.