LOGAN — When Diane Hillyer of Logan was first diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2008, her daughter was in the middle of planning her wedding for August.
“It was scary because we didn’t know what was going to happen, and we were planning the wedding,” her daughter Lisa Schein told The Logan Daily News in an interview earlier this week. “You just never know what the outcome’s going to be [with cancer].”
With wedding plans in full swing, Hillyer didn’t want to take the spotlight from her daughter’s wedding day, so she opted to have a milder dose of chemotherapy until the wedding was over. After the wedding, she began undergoing stronger chemotherapy treatments.
“We would have postponed the wedding if we had to,” Schein said, sitting next to her mom in the living room of Schein’s home on the Hilltop. “I just wanted her to do whatever she had to do to get better. She opted for the lower dose, but I told her it didn’t matter if she didn’t have her hair at the wedding.”
“My thing was that it was her wedding, it was her day,” Hillyer said of her decision. “And I didn’t want my daughter’s wedding pictures — family wedding pictures — to make anyone look back later and say, 'Oh, that’s when Lisa’s mom had cancer.’”
Hillyer’s oncologist, Dr. Elaine Beed, had a daughter who was getting married around the same time as Schein, so she lent a sympathetic ear to their situation.
“She made some phone calls to some colleagues of hers, and they came up with the treatment plan that they gave me,” Hillyer said, explaining that she took 10 rounds of chemotherapy before and shortly after the wedding, and then started stronger treatments after the wedding was over.
The milder dose of chemotherapy didn’t cause her hair to fall out right away, but the stronger doses following the wedding eventually caused her to lose her hair.
Hillyer ended up having a total of two lumpectomies, one just one month after being diagnosed and the other after her chemotherapy and radiation treatments were completed.
Today, Hillyer enjoys spending time with her three-year-old granddaughter Abby, who was born the same month that Hillyer’s oncologist declared her in full remission.