Kimberly Loomer’s first few days of marriage weren’t the blissful ones most newlyweds would expect.
“I was diagnosed (with breast cancer) right after my then-boyfriend and kids proposed to me. We were married three weeks after my diagnosis, and my hair fell out the next day. We have gorgeous pictures on the beach of Hilton Head on April 11, 2015. By April 16th, I was bald. and our one-week anniversary was spent in the ER and hospital,” said Loomer, 43, the associate dean for Student and Multicultural Affairs at the Medical College of Georgia.
Loomer found the lump in an unusual fashion. She’d just purchased new pillows, and her body was positioned at a different angle when she noticed the lump. She had a mammogram and a biopsy on Friday, March 6, and received the diagnosis the following Tuesday, March 10, 2015.
She underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation and has had multiple hospitalizations. Along the way, Loomer said she’s had incredible support from many people.
“I was most surprised by how incredible people are in tough times. Folks supported us that we knew well and other perfect strangers sent blankets, care bags and brought meals,” she said.
Her husband, Joe; children, Dominic, 11, and Carolyn, 7; and her parents have been her most faithful supporters, but there have been countless others, she said.
“The cancer center is wonderful, and I didn’t have to say that. I’ve been supported by the college and by my physicians. I knew I had good physicians, and I see how well they’ve treated me,” she said.
For those facing cancer or other serious illness, Loomer offers a piece of advice that she has learned in a long and grueling journey.
“Your health is your number one job. Prioritize who is important to you. Separate the wheat from the chaff for the people in your life. Keep four quarters instead of 100 pennies.
“Read what you can and trust your providers,” she said.