Gut Feeling

“I do recall the exact day. I felt a lump; a little tiny one in my right breast,” says Frances Ferris, of Pearl River. But her gynecologist and mammographer said it was nothing to worry about. “I thought, OK, then I must be imagining this…but I had a gut feeling,” she says. Seven months went by and eventually pain and soreness forced Frances to visit her doctor again. The lump had grown.

Following a biopsy, she got the news, but it was something she says she already knew. She contacted Nyack surgeon, Dr. Lawrence Simon, who promptly removed the lesion. She received chemotherapy, supervised by oncologist Dr. Sheryl Leventhal. Then she started radiation therapy treatment at Advanced ROS under the direction of Dr. Margaret Torrey.

During this period, she says, a strange thing happened. “I’d been scared of cancer all my life. I’d say ‘Please God, keep cancer away from me’. But the funny thing was, when I actually got it, this kind of calm came over me and I wasn’t scared anymore. Throughout the whole process, I never had any doubts. I believe in destiny. I tolerated the chemotherapy very well, I never got sick, just tired a few days. And the radiation therapy had absolutely no ill effect on me. During that time, I just lived my life, I was optimistic the whole way.”

Now disease-free, Frances says cancer is the last thing on her mind. “I feel like I never had it,” she says. “I love to garden, to be outdoors. I come from a little farm in Ireland, so that’s always been in me. I love to go out and enjoy myself and have a good laugh. I love to travel.” Every year, she and her husband of 38 years travel to Ireland to visit her three sisters. They make monthly treks to Atlantic City and plans for destinations to come.

Looking back on that time, thinking about the physicians and staff who cared for her, Frances remarks, “I simply can’t say enough good things about them.”