NBC4: Local mom beats the odds to become a breast cancer survivor
Pauline Russ is OhioHealth’s system program director of cancer surgery, breast health and genetics. Her job hits close to home, because she is also a breast cancer survivor.
“I didn’t have the typical symptoms. I didn’t feel a lump,” Russ told NBC4 reporter Ellie Merritt during a recent interview. “But I had pain and a tingling sensation in my right breast. It was one of those things where you just know your body best and I knew that there was something not right.”
Russ, who was just 34 at the time, went to the doctor and discovered after screening that it was cancer.
“I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma- triple positive. It just came out of nowhere, because there was no family history, I was young, and I was generally healthy,” Russ told NBC4.
Russ had to take some special considerations into her treatment, because, in addition to her cancer diagnosis, she was also pregnant.
“Starting my second trimester when I was diagnosed, which actually was perfect timing, because that’s the one time during the pregnancy that you can have the chemotherapy,” said Russ.
She underwent chemotherapy during her second trimester and then continued treatment after delivering a healthy baby boy, Taxiarchi Michael, who is now seven-years-old. Russ told NBC4 she credits her son with saving her life.
“Because I was pregnant, I was going to the doctor more often, so every time my obstetrician would ask how things were, I would say everything is good except for this right side,” said Russ. “Being pregnant is what helped save my life. I see it as he is who helped save my life….To still be here with my little seven-year-old guy who is getting ready to wrap up first grade, I mean it is such a blessing,” said Russ.
You can watch NBC4’s full story above. It’s important to catch breast cancer early. To find one of OhioHealth’s 18 mammogram screening locations, click here.