A Battle With Breast Cancer

In honor of October being breast cancer awareness I decided to interview my grandmother, Jean Orcutt, the strongest woman I know, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2012 and then again in 2019. During our interview, she explained how one night she was lying on her couch when she felt a lump in her chest, and just knew that it was cancer. She made her appointment right away, and was told they had caught it early. She was told she would only need to get the lump removed and some radiation, but her surgeon did not agree. Orcutt ended up getting a hysterectomy to rid some of the estrogen in her body, but was really torn when they suggested a double mastectomy. The night after her hysterectomy she was absolutely hysterical, but the sun came up in the morning and Orcutt thought about her husband, daughter, and granddaughters and realized that she would do anything she could to survive. 

photo by Macee Fielding
photo by Macee Fielding

I asked Orcutt how cancer affected her outlook on life. She realized that stuff happens, no one is going to live forever and she was lucky to have a great doctor. Dr. Saux is an oncologist in St. Tammany Parish Hospital that has been giving her treatment for about ten years. She said, “If I could describe my experience in one word it would be grateful. I love that it’s so close, and I could walk there if I felt inclined to.” Orcutt has always had a positive outlook when it came to her battle with cancer, and believes that, “Two people can be in the same exact situation and handle it very differently.” I’ve always looked up to her for that reason because having someone who’s going through so much, but still manages to stay so positive has made me realize that I can get through anything. 

“How can people support loved ones battling cancer?” She said the most important thing is to “Just be there, realize that there’s going to be good and bad days,” Orcutt would have friends come and sit with her during her treatments, and she said it just made everything a lot easier. 

Throughout October we as a school do so much for those battling breast cancer. For the pink game on October 20 the volleyball doves played Lakeshore, and all proceeds went to Tulane Cancer Research. When we combined efforts with Dominican, Mount Carmel, Chapelle, and Cabrini we raised over $200,000 for Tulane’s patient relief fund.