“I was at a regular checkup, talking with my family doctor, Dr. Neumann,” recalls DeDe. “It was about time to get my routine mammogram, so I did – just like I’ve done for years. Out of the blue, they tell me that the mammogram showed detection of a cyst, and it would have to be removed. Was it cancer? I didn’t know, but it certainly was the beginning of an unexpected journey.”

DeDe Tanguy

DeDe Tanguy has always been very good about taking care of herself. Upon first meeting her, you would probably never be able to guess her real age. Full of spirited energy, she spends her time living life to the fullest, but always making sure to get her checkups. That’s where she got some unexpected news a couple of years ago.

The cyst removal was performed by Dr. Todd Weinstein, one of the general surgeons practicing at LMPN General Surgery. “I had a stereotactic biopsy first to determine if it was cancer, and indeed it was. I told Dr. Weinstein to do what he needed to do to get it all out. I said to get all the margins and everything, because I didn’t want to have to go through anything like this again – not at my age,” she laughed. DeDe was 82 years old when her cyst was caught and diagnosed.

From there, DeDe was fortunate. It was determined that she would not need to have chemotherapy. “I only needed radiation, which I could have done here in Logansport at the Logansport Regional Cancer Center,” she commented. “I am so grateful that we have the Cancer Center here in town. I was able to drive myself to my appointments when I needed or wanted to, and I didn’t have to depend on my family to drive me out of town to an unfamiliar place. I can’t say enough about the doctors who treated me. Dr. Weinstein, Dr. Harwood, and Dr. Marvel were a real team in making sure my care was exceptional. Having access to doctors like them here at home with the Cancer Center close by… why would anyone go anywhere else?”

Throughout the whole experience, DeDe remained strong for her family, but they also remained strong for her. “I am so blessed – I have six kids, 12 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren. My family was such a support system for me. I told each of my kids one by one and they all did what they could to help me – whether it was going to appointments, checking in on me, or helping me with little things when I would feel tired from all of the treatment. They made sure they were well-informed along the way of everything I was going through, so that they could provide exactly the help and support I needed. I’m so grateful for each of them, for all of my family.”

Before she ever started this journey, she had taken precautions because of her extended family’s medical history. “Two of my nieces were diagnosed with breast cancer in their 30s, at a very young age. So much information has circulated about the BRCA gene, so they underwent some genetic testing, and at their genetic specialist’s recommendation, I also went and got tested for the gene. It turns out that I am not a carrier which made me feel better – with five daughters, I did not want them to be pre-disposed to breast cancer. It gave me peace of mind for myself and for them and their families,” she said.

After DeDe finished her radiation treatment on August 21, 2013, she knew she had won her fight against breast cancer. “I never doubted that I would come through this successfully… from the beginning, I felt like I would survive this. Maybe it’s because I didn’t need chemo, maybe it’s because I had a good treatment team, or maybe it’s some of both. But even though I didn’t expect to hear what the mammogram showed, I did expect to beat it. I wasn’t going to give it any other option!” After this, she encourages everyone she knows to get their mammograms regularly and to complete their self-breast exams. She also believes that following the doctor’s advice doesn’t hurt either. And lastly… “Never underestimate the power of prayer. I sent many prayers up to St. Jude and St. Peregrine, the patron saint of cancer. I know my faith gave me the strength and hope I needed to get through this,” she says. We are so glad you shared your story with us, DeDe. We know you’ll continue enjoying life with your large and loving family!

Moving towards a cure.