"In my gut, something told me that I had cancer"
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital patient Lori Geiger was recognized as the Chicago Bears' special guest during the Bear Down Flag Ceremony on Oct. 13, 2022.
In partnership with Advocate Health Care, the Chicago Bears invited Lori Geiger, 53, of Lake in the Hills, to help unfurl the Bear Down flag and participate in pregame activities at Soldier Field. She was joined on the field by her husband, Steven Geiger, before returning to the stands where her parents also joined her to watch the Bears face the Commanders.
Lori spent her adult life battling endometriosis -- a severe reproductive disorder that is the leading cause of infertility and pelvic pain. After many years of hormone replacements, multiple laparoscopic surgeries and several failed infertility treatments, Lori made the difficult decision to have a hysterectomy in October of 2021. Even though it effectively ended her dreams of becoming pregnant and giving birth, she was looking forward to enjoying the life she and her husband had built without a constant barrage of health challenges.
At her follow-up appointment 12 weeks later, her care team told her that she was overdue for her mammogram.
That overdue mammogram may have saved her life -- when they looked at the follow-up imaging, the team saw calcification. Her biopsy came back with atypical ductal hyperplasia, and a lumpectomy was scheduled.
"In my gut, something told me that I had cancer," she remembers.
After the procedure, Lori was told that her breast surgeon, Dr. Barry Rosen, and his team had found ductal carcinoma in situ -- cancer in her milk ducts. The good news -- they caught it early and were able to remove the cancer with clean margins.
Following radiation treatment, Lori is doing well and has been cancer-free for six months.
"It's not like I can say I was feeling great and then I got cancer," Lori said. "Even now, it's hard for me to tell if the symptoms I'm experiencing are from my hysterectomy or from the cancer."
She credits the team at Good Shepherd with her success, and has been using many of the resources available at the Center for Health and Integrative Medicine to help mitigate the side effects of treatment -- aromatherapy and sound wave recordings for insomnia and headaches; acupuncture for joint pain and stress; physical therapy to alleviate pain in her breast and arm. Through surgery, radiation and endocrine therapy, she's approached every challenge with a smile, positive attitude and never a complaint.
"What a blessing that there is a Center that can touch all of these services, and where everyone is part of the same team for me," she explained. "I love that everyone is connected, and everyone knows you as a patient."