Donna Jankowski


"Breast Cancer... Don't let it be your secret.  Tell someone, especially your doctor, so tests can be made to find out for sure.  Then FIGHT!  KICK and SCREAM!  You are worth it!!!  I am a survivor!  Nothing will take me down!"

I found out I had breast cancer in March 2009, just before my 49th birthday.  At the time, I knew about breast cancer, but I never thought I would have it.  My cancer treatments started with a mammogram at Victory Breast Diagnostics & Women’s Imaging with Dr. Susan Gaskill.  She was very easy to talk to.  She explained and answered all of my questions and even ones I did not know to ask.  From Dr. Gaskill’s office, I went to Dr. Amy Hassan at MD Anderson Clear Lake.  Dr. Hassan has truly saved my life.  She explained, that I must have mastectomy. Dr. Larry Watson MD Anderson did the surgery in June.  July 13 was my first chemo treatment.  I remember that day because, it is also my daughter Kayla’s 14th birthday.  I was scheduled for 16 weeks of chemo.  I only had 14 treatments, because of my feet swelling so badly.  I went back to work before the end of the chemo in December.  It was hard to walk, but I managed to get through the days.  Mr. Darrell Argo, my store manager at #302 Galveston, was always coming back to the meat department, checking on me.  He told me anytime, I needed to sit down and take a break, for me to do so.  When I went back to work, the hardest thing for me was that, I had no hair, no eyebrows, or eye lashes.  I really felt yucky.  The nicest thing that has ever been said to me was right out of the blue.   Mr. Argo said “You Are Beautiful!” and “I said no, I’m not, I don’t have any hair.”  I thought I was going to cry.  It meant more to me, than he will ever know.  I will never forget him saying that to me!  In. Feb. 2010, I started radiation treatments, that took place 5 days a week during a six week period. A year later, I went through reconstruction.  Dr. Mark Barlow did my surgery, which I call my tummy tuck/new breasts.  He took the stomach tissue and abdominal area and reconstructed my breasts.  I had the choice and I chose, not to have anything foreign put in my body.  Throughout my journey, I learned that I am a very strong willed person.  I made it through each day, by telling myself that nothing is going to take me down or away without a fight.  And boy, did I ever fight!  It has taken me almost 2 1.2 years to get through all of this, but it is worth it.  I am worth it!  I am happy to report that today, I feel great!  All of my tests come back negative and with good results!  I still have days where I am very tired and my feet still hurt at night, but I am able to accomplish all of the things I want to do.  My advice to other women facing breast cancer is simple.  There is HOPE!  Do not let cancer get you down!  Luckily there are a lot of doctors out there, with a lot of treatment options.   And of course,  I also have the greatest family for the support and Love that I needed.  My saying is “It will take a lot more than breast cancer to take me out.  I will not go without a lot of kicking and screaming!”

When and how did you learn that you had breast cancer?
While I was taking a shower one night,  I just happened to feel the lump on the side of my breast.  I knew it wasn’t right.  I had never had a mammogram, so I called my doctor the next day.  After the test, they immediately call Dr. Gaskill - Victory Breast Diagnostics.

Did you know much about breast cancer when you were diagnosed?  Did you have a family history?
I didn’t know anything about it, except what I’ve heard on TV.  I’ve never had any personal dealings with this.

How involved was your treatment?
I was very involved.  I had a mastectomy, then 6 months of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation.  Then I had reconstruction surgery.

What were the most important factors that help that help you through treatment and recovery?
I had a positive attitude and family that were right here for me.

What did you learn about yourself as you went through this difficult experience?
I learned about myself that, I am a strong willed person.  If someone asked could I have gone through all of that, I would have said no.!  But, I did and I believe I did it with flying colors!

How do you feel today?  How has your life changed since facing this disease?
Today I feel great.  I have learned how to take it easier on my body, when it comes to work and everyday life.  Take it easy!  Things will get done and will work out in time.