“Girls’ Night Out” could be life saving
~ One woman’s terrifying experience with a mammogram led her to live with a breast lump for three years ~
Brighton, Colo. — LuAnne Petramala stood facing the white steel contraption alone, not knowing how a mammogram was done. A chill went up the open back of her cotton gown. It was Petramala’s first mammogram and, after that day, she swore in silence, it would be her last.
This mammogram, 10 years ago, showed an abnormality that was luckily nothing. But three years ago, Petramala found a lump in her breast. She still refused to get a mammogram, even at her daughter’s urging. Once she felt the lump growing, however, she knew she needed help.
Last October, she came across information for Platte Valley Medical Center’s (PVMC) Girls’ Night Out event; an evening of fun and activities directly related to women’s health.
“I thought [Girl’s Night Out] sounded like fun so I took my daughter and a friend. What I did not expect was that this social event allowed me to be completely open and talk about (IT) for the first time. We were all talking about our bad experiences with mammograms. Everyone was laughing and having a great time,” explains Petramala.
That night she would meet another LuAnne, a Nurse Navigator who helps patients through their diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Petramala explains, “One of the staff asked me if I needed to get a mammogram.
I nodded yes. When she told me her name was also LuAnne; I thought, okay, this is an omen. This is God’s way of telling me I’m in good hands.”
Within a week, Petramala received a mammogram, biopsy, and began treatment for aggressive breast cancer; thanks to the other LuAnne’s dedicated caregiving. As of today, Petramala’s treatments are over and she is on the road to healing.
“I can’t believe what an adventure it has been,” she says, “but looking back it was pleasant for the most part. I feel that if my story helps even one woman, my journey was completely worth it.”
Petramala is one of 650 women scheduled to attend Platte Valley Medical Center’s third annual Girl’s Night
Out this Thursday, August 28, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 1600 Prairie Center Parkway in Brighton.
“LuAnne’s story is a perfect example of what inspires us to have Girls’ Night Out for our community,” says Charmaine Weis, director of marketing and communications. “Women need a place to go to and learn new ways to improve their health in a fun environment.”