Local woman beats breast cancer

Published 5:51 pm Friday, October 26, 2012

Tammy Soltischick finished her last round of treatment for breast cancer this month. She is officially cancer-free.

Tammy Soltischick of Maplesville has celebrated many milestones since Aug. 19, 2011, the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Every procedure and treatment she endured after that day marked another hurdle she cleared on her way to remission.

After chemotherapy claimed her hair, Soltischick even made her shopping trip for wigs a fun afternoon out with those close to her.

“Instead of making it a sad thing, we made it a positive thing,” Soltischick, 48, said. “We made it a fun day.”

Positivity was the backdrop for her entire battle with breast cancer—in her case, Stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma.

The diagnosis came as a shock to Soltischick considering her diligence in having routine mammograms and exams throughout her life.

“I’ve had mammograms every year,” she said. “I had had one 10 months prior to that, and it was perfectly clear.”

But as she rolled over in bed one night and felt a knot, she knew something was wrong.

She called her doctor the next morning and was sent to Montgomery for further testing.

A biopsy confirmed that the knot was cancer.

She and her mother sat in the doctor’s office and cried. The thought of not being able to see her daughter, Chelsea, get married and start her own family crossed Soltischick’s mind first.

“I prayed and asked God to let me get through this gracefully,” Soltischick said. “I made up my mind and said, ‘I’m not going to let this beat me.’”

At Shelby Cancer Center, she underwent two different kinds of chemotherapy every other week for three weeks and took Herceptin, a drug used to treat early-stage breast cancer that is Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor–2 positive (also known as HER2+) that has or hasn’t spread into the lymph nodes.

She took Herceptin every three weeks for a year and finished her last round this month.

In January 2011, she had a double mastectomy to remove the knot and surrounding breast tissue. The lymph nodes under her left arm were removed too.

Meanwhile, her husband, daughter, relatives and friends took turns going with her to appointments, cleaning her house, cooking meals and helping in other ways.

“I never went by myself to anything,” Soltischick said. “I had a big group of prayer warriors that were amazing.”

Soltischick is the office manager at Parnell Inc. in Maplesville, and she said her coworkers were sources of unwavering support during her treatment.

She only missed about 14 days of work in a year’s time for treatment, including surgery, chemo and checkups.

She is now cancer-free.

“Trust God because he will get you through it,” Soltischick said. “If somebody offers you help, take it because it blesses you and them.”

She said Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” became her motto.

“She was the strongest woman ever during that,” Chelsea Soltischick, 19, said. “I never once saw her get upset or anything. She was just so incredibly strong, and I hope I can be like her when I’m older.”

Chelsea and her father each got tattoos to honor Tammy and her triumph over breast cancer.

“Dad got his done while she was at work, came home and surprised her with it,” Chelsea said. “I got mine a few weeks after she was diagnosed. His (tattoo) has her name on it, and mine is a pink ribbon.”

Chelsea and friends held an “I Beat Cancer” party for Tammy, as did her Sunday School class.

Three weeks ago, she and her family went to Gatlinburg, Tenn., to celebrate the end of her treatments.

So, what are her plans now?

“I look forward to seeing my daughter get married, and being a grandmother,” Tammy said and added, “Me and my husband are going to grow old and sit on our front porch.”