Pritchard has community’s support
By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist
Though she had no family history of breast cancer, when Tina Pritchard felt a lump in her breast in April 2013, she decided right away to call her gynecologist and scheduled an ultrasound and mammogram.
“I eat healthy and exercise and never thought much about it, but during the ultrasound, I could see a big black area,” she said. “A lot of thoughts go through your mind in this situation, and Dr. Richard Kirkland told me ’85 percent of the cases like this I see are not malignant, so the odds are in your favor.’
“I never thought I would be in the 15 percent,” Tina recalled.
This cancer, HER2, usually affects women from ages 48-82 and is an aggressive type. With this awareness, she chose to undergo a double mastectomy and underwent seven months of chemo in 2013 in the Ambulatory Care Unit at Brookwood under the care of Dr. Adler.
Tina, a dental hygienist who has worked for Dr. Keith Dillard, DMD for the past 17-and-a-half years says throughout, she had his support and that of her co-workers.
“Dr. Dillard and my co-workers Shelly Ryan, Lisa Tucker and Ally Prothro were there for me in so many ways,” she said. “We’ve been through birthdays, holidays, parties and life and death.”
“When I lost my hair, they went out and bought bandanas for us all to wear in the office,” she said. “Working helped me not to feel sorry for myself. As a dental hygienist, I like to take care of others.”
For last October’s Susan G. Komen run in Birmingham, Tina’s friends rallied to her side.
“About 75 people showed up to support me that day,” she said. “The tears just flowed.”
This year, though Tina was unable to participate in the race, the Helena Belles, including her daughter, Kylie, were again CureLeaders and honored her journey.
Positive reports from her oncologist and surgeon have recently been received. Tina, husband Tray and family are thankful for the continuing support of friends as they find their lives returning to a more predictable pattern.