Editor’s Note: This is one article in a series about Ford’s own Warriors in Pink. Ford is a huge supporter of breast cancer awareness and we will focus on the strength and courage that survivors have shown.
@Ford IT interviewed Barbara Clare Tallinger, project coordinator, IT. She has been on her journey for nine months.
@Ford IT: You are still on your journey to becoming a breast cancer survivor. Would you like to share what has been happening along the way?
I was diagnosed in September of 2013 (Friday the 13th!!!). I had a partial mastectomy in October, did chemotherapy starting in November and the chemo had a negative impact on my lungs. I was hospitalized with pneumonia for a week, then again for four days with a blood clot in my lung.
So, in addition to the chemo, I am also on blood thinners and steroids. After chemo, I had 31 radiation treatments, which just ended on Monday, May 19th. It was a rough winter, but I worked as much as I could and tried to keep a positive attitude. I think that a positive attitude and being surrounded by prayers are key to getting through this journey.
@Ford IT: Have you seen any technological advancements or breakthroughs with breast cancer treatments over the past year?
They have marvelous anti-nausea drugs that they administer along with the chemo infusions, so I was never sick from the infusions.
@Ford IT: How do you manage to maintain your confidence and positive attitude on a daily basis?
I have a very supportive husband, and a large church family. I am an ordained Deacon in the Presbyterian Faith and the cards and letters just kept rolling in. I am not the kind of person to lay around at home, I would bore myself silly, so I kept working and continued to be as active as I could be. I also have great colleagues here at Ford and they encouraged me along the way. I think that losing my hair made other survivors approach and encourage me.
@Ford IT: What advice would you give to others who may be struggling with breast cancer or any illness that they may be diagnosed with?
Let your friends and family help you. Don’t push yourself too hard, but never give up. Cancer is a monster, but remember…David slew Goliath! Don’t lose hope and keep up a sense of humor. No one wants to be around a whiner!
@Ford IT: Would you like to share a little known fact about yourself (hobbies, talent, etc.)?
I love to work in my gardens. I grow tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and peppers. I do a lot of work at Kirk in the Hills Presbyterian Church, which I love. I also love to cook dinners with my husband. And I can’t wait for my hair to grow back! I wonder what I will look like?
@Ford IT: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
So many people have been here for me and the support has been fantastic. Never give up. I am lucky because I was diagnosed early, and I pray for all my brothers and sisters on their journeys. I am also grateful for the support of this great company and the Management here. And remember, I have cancer, cancer doesn’t have me. I am a survivor!