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Karen Thomas: Maintaining Verve and Spirit

Karen Thomas

“Staying close to my routine as much as possible has made it more bearable.”

Karen Thomas
Breast Cancer

Karen Thomas, fondly known as K.T., has always been serious about preventative healthcare and leading an active lifestyle. Now retired and in her 70s, K.T. continues the regular mammogram schedule she’s maintained for nearly 50 years without incident.

But this year’s annual exam in January included addressing unusual discomfort she was feeling. The diagnosis: stage I breast cancer. 

K.T. instantly knew her strategy for coping with cancer. She would power through and continue her active routine as she had done throughout her life while beginning treatment at Texas Oncology—Round Rock.

“Cancer is daunting and intimidating, and I felt a sense of hopelessness,” says K.T. “But my doctors are enthusiastic, confident, and engaging. They include me in the process, and I like that they have a plan. There is no guessing.”

Under the care of Dr. Michelle Ashworth of Texas Oncology–Round Rock, K.T. underwent surgery and elected to also receive chemotherapy and HER2-targeted therapy to maximize her chances of avoiding a relapse.

“Dr. Ashworth is just an exquisite human being,” adds K.T. “Her demeanor is like that of a research scientist—she can turn on a dime to provide patients with information and data. But she’s also vibrant and caring, which puts a smile on my face.”

For Dr. Ashworth, the admiration is mutual.

“To know K.T. is to feel the power and warmth of her incredibly loving and inclusive personality,” says Dr. Ashworth. “She is a very smart, self-determined patient. She is appreciative of discussion and the data behind her treatment recommendations. She has gone out of her way to make my entire staff feel valued, and treating her has been a wonderful experience for all of us.”

Best of all, K.T. has a positive outlook and is in excellent health.

“K.T. has tolerated treatment well so far,” Dr. Ashworth adds. “My hope is that she will be able to put this health episode behind her, get back to time with her family and friends, and continue to thrive and brighten the world with her verve and spirit.”

Keeping up with her regular activities has made an enormous impact on K.T.’s journey by giving her a sense of stability and normalcy.

K.T. explains, “Staying close to my routine as much as possible has made it more bearable. After a breast cancer diagnosis, you are on such an unexpected trajectory in your life, and it’s important to keep a familiar routine so you don’t feel out of control. That’s why I make sure to keep up my activities, even if it’s modified.”

K.T. also encourages other women fighting breast cancer to continue living out their best lives, and that this is a fight that can be conquered.

“When you first encounter breast cancer, you think, ‘How am I going to deal with this?’ But the thing is, humans can be very adaptable if we allow ourselves to be,” says K.T.

The information included in this testimonial is based on one patient’s unique experience and is not intended to represent all patient outcomes or expectations.