Patient StoryAug | 16 | 2019
As an integral part of her own team, Anne and her family worked together with experts at the Mass General Cancer Center to develop a treatment plan that was specifically tailored to her disease and wishes.
- Learn about Anne's journey from breast cancer diagnosis through treatment, and find out what her life is like now. She had the benefit of access to the Mass General Cancer Center's multi-disciplinary team of specialists - "Everyday Amazing" made real.
- "Cancer is part of my story, not my entire story. And I am thankful for this."
Anne’s story — a successful publishing executive with a young family, suddenly diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2011 — might have turned out very differently.
"When I was diagnosed, I really believed that I was going to die young," Anne said, referencing her initial fears that she would lose her battle.
Anne had undetected stage two breast cancer, but thanks to genetic testing at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center that targeted her cancer, Anne was diagnosed early.
Personalized, Multidisciplinary Care
Anne, like other Mass General Cancer Center patients, received personalized care from a team of specialists who deliver state-of-the-art treatment and technology in addition to a wide array of support services.
As an integral part of her own team, Anne and her family worked together with our experts to develop a treatment plan that was specifically tailored to her disease and wishes.
Anne Bunn - patient: “My team was amazing and did everything to keep me in good health and to keep my spirits up. I am so grateful for their expert care and friendship.”
Beverly Moy, MD - medical oncologist: “Anne illustrated to me that cancer affects the entire family. She continues to inspire me to work even harder to conquer breast cancer to help save more lives and keep more families whole.”
Michelle C. Specht, MD - surgical oncologist: “Anne made it part of her mission to educate others. She produced a wonderful blog and taught me that this was key to keeping people in her life updated while allowing her to live her life. This is wonderful advice that I share with many of my patients.”
Alphonse G. Taghian, MD - radiation oncologist: "Anne was able to strike a balance between accepting her fate with grace, while putting up a strong fight to defeat her cancer. She is full of energy, has a great sense of humor, and is really exceptional!”
Irene Martyniuk, LicAc - licensed acupuncturist: “Anne and I created an acupuncture plan with the goals of helping her maintain her quality of life and manage stress during treatment. I’m so glad to have been a part of her team during the challenging times and to hear the stories of her life now.”
Kristen Shannon, MS, CGC - genetic counselor: “Anne’s desire to know if she had a gene mutation, and therefore increased risk for developing another cancer, empowered her while making treatment choices. I believe her proactive decisions and fighting spirit contributed to her successful treatment.”
Gwen Mitchell, LPN - new patient access nurse: “Prior to her first appointment, Anne and I spent a long time talking about her family and diagnosis. My goals were to give her hope, support and comfort, and to help her feel more informed, prepared and empowered as she embarked on this journey.”
Chris O’ Connor, RT; Kelly O’ Hara, RT; Natasha Colaco-Burge, RT - radiation therapists: “We always looked forward to seeing Anne, with her beautiful smile and funky scarves! Her positive, uplifting spirit was contagious.”
Amy Colwell, MD - plastic surgeon: “It’s often difficult for patients to manage a cancer diagnosis, the loss of breasts, and the uncertainties of how reconstruction will affect their lives. But Anne took it all in stride and she is an inspiring example of the power of positive thinking.”
Planning for the Future
Two years later, having been treated with surgery, radiation and targeted therapies at the Mass General Cancer Center, Anne said, “I now catch myself planning, and very earnestly saying 'That will be such a great trip when we’re 80 years old.'"
Anne’s successful treatment is not something she will ever take lightly: "Every morning we wake up and say 'Thank you for this great day – Now let’s go out and work and play.' We just remind each other that every day is something to be thankful for."
Enjoying the Little Things
How is Anne doing now, in 2016?
"In the summer of 2015, I stopped working to stay home with my kids. I felt that I was missing too much at home, that the kids were growing up too quickly, that I wanted to be home with them. We’ve spent the last year living normal lives—doing homework, going to school events, doing extracurricular, lounging, traveling, bickering, cooking, exercising (including the Boston Marathon to raise money for MGH!). It has been a great year, filled with life’s normal ups and downs."
"My health has been good, and my trips to the [Mass General] Cancer Center have slowed down. At my five-year mark, I reached the end of my clinical trial which required a quarterly trip to Dr. Moy. Now I will see her every 6 months. I will continue to see the pancreatic cancer specialist one time per year to make sure that my pancreas is in the clear. "
"Cancer still has my attention (when I had a stomach bug earlier this week I asked my husband if he thought it could be metastasized cancer—he didn’t), but it is not the focal point. It is part of my story, not my entire story. And I am thankful for this."
Read more of Anne's Story here.
Cancer is part of my story, not my entire story. And I am thankful for this.
Centers and Departments
The Story Project
The Story Project is our effort to capture the stories from the people in our Mass General Cancer Center community.
Supportive Care Services
Our support programs can help patients and their families cope with the challenges of a cancer diagnosis.