The Salem News
ROCKPORT — It was an extra special moment for Anita Broach when she crossed the finish line at the Twin Lights Half Marathon in Gloucester this past May.
Broach was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, a stage 0 non-invasive form of breast cancer, during the summer of 2010.
She was 48.
“Having something like that happen to you does make you rethink things,” she said. “You try to make the best of the situation.”
Living in Concord at the time, Broach had gone in for her regular mammogram when doctors found something not quite right.
A biopsy lead to her diagnosis, and she underwent a lumpectomy at Emerson Hospital in Concord.
Before her diagnosis, Broach and her husband had decided to move to the North Shore. With their daughter in college and jobs that didn’t require them to stay in the area, the couple wanted to be closer to the ocean. Their move to Rockport fell right between Broach’s initial surgery and treatment. Her surgeon referred her to Mass General, which, fortunately for Broach, includes the North Shore Center for Outpatient Care in Danvers.
“They really are a team,” Broach said of her North Shore doctors. “They were all on the same page. They all had access to all of my records.”
Her treatment team was able to schedule her radiation around her work. With appointments close to home at 7 a.m. for six weeks, Broach didn’t miss a day at the office. Luckily, she didn’t suffer side affects from the radiation, either.
At the same time, Broach started to run. Exercising not only helped her efforts to live a healthier lifestyle during her treatment, but also provided some much needed TLC.
“We had a mild winter, so I did not miss one day [of running],” she said. “The beautiful scenery we have here in Rockport made it easy, and it was good for stress relief.”
She ran her first 5K — the Hangover Classic in Salisbury, which ends with a plunge into the icy Atlantic — with her brother on Jan. 1, and did well.
“That kicked me off saying, ‘I can do this,’” she said.
So she set a larger goal: To run the Twin Lights Half Marathon in May. She followed a five-day, 12-week half-marathon training program offered by coolrunning.com, and never looked back.
Broach says her family provided a tremendous amount of support. Her diagnosis was even more personal for her and her three sisters, all of whom have had some form of breast cancer in the last 15 years. One sibling has battled the disease twice. All four are doing fine now.
“Since we have the history in my family, they do watch me,” Broach said of her doctors, whom she still sees about once every six months. “I’m lucky that mine was caught early.”