A Young New Orleans Mom Beats Breast Cancer Thanks to Touro

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Disclosure :: this post is sponsored through Touro Infirmary’s 31 Days of Pink campaign.

A New Orleans Mom’s Breast Cancer Journey

Leigh Hoke was a 38 year old mother of two. No history of breast cancer. Married to the love of her life. And then one day, while putting on a sports bra, she felt a lump in her breast. Her world was turned upside down.

Stage 2 triple positive breast cancer in her left breast.

Every bit of that diagnosis seemed frightening and overwhelming. What would life be like for her children as she fought cancer? Would she be there to one day watch them graduate high school, get married and have babies of their own?

Leigh was referred to Dr. Daniel Rupley at Touro by some family members, and “once she met with him, [she] never left.” She knew immediately that Touro was going to be the best place for her to receive her care. Dr. Rupley also diagnosed a lymph node as positive and worked hard to educate Leigh and her family about all of the intricacies and the process of cancer treatment. She says emphatically that, “Touro saved my life!”

Leigh started Chemo in February and finished in May. Leigh also just finished Radiation on October 1st, where she was able to ring the bell signaling the end of her treatment with her family by her side.

She credits her family and her doctors at Touro with getting her through this journey.  Dr. Colfrey, Dr. Rupley and Dr. Zacharia are heroes in Leigh’s eyes, and she talks about the importance of having such a strong team on her side in this fight.

Leigh says what makes Touro so special is that their approach to treating cancer is a multilevel process. It includes treatment plans, education and services that break down barriers to treatment. These special extras included Uber rides, a computer lab, wig and cap fittings, and occupational therapy.

“Going into it, my goal was to not take anything away from my kids…not to let this affect my kids negatively and to live our normal life. With the resources that they have here and just the advances in medicine, I really feel like I’ve been able to do that.”

Leigh has been at every one of her son’s football games and hasn’t missed a dance class thanks to the support and the medical advances available at Touro. “This has been so much better….the best that it could be.”

She describes the medical staff at Touro as her “front line support system.” And, she also credits her family for helping her through this journey which makes having them help her ring the bell on her last day of radiation that much sweeter. And, it is a great sign of healing and closure that they can all experience together.

“Part of the reason I wanted to do this is obviously because Touro is so amazing, but also I feel like if any young mom sees this and can really take comfort in that you are going to be okay. You can get through it. This obviously has tested me beyond measure, as well as my family, my husband, my kids and my parents, but you can do it and there are people out there to make this so much easier.”

Her father has accompanied her to all of her treatments and doctors appointments and if you see Leigh in the halls of Touro, you can rest assured that her “sidekick” is not far behind. She credits her husband, her father, and the rest of her family for rounding out her incredible team.

In July, Touro told Leigh she was cancer free. Now, she is completing the last few steps on her cancer journey and experiencing healing closure for herself and her family. She is hopeful about the future.

“I didn’t have a choice, but you do choose how you handle things.  I had to do it but there’s a way you can do it that’s positive and open and vulnerable.”

Catherine Karas
Catherine followed her college sweetheart (and now wife) Claire to New Orleans after they both graduated from the University of Georgia. She is a twin mom, a stay at home mom, a boy mom, a Disney mom, and a 2 mom family mom...just to name a few. She throws a mean toddler play date and loves to host small humans in her home for themed out events! She is often planning her next great family adventure, and she is never scared to pack her twins up for a trip solo! Her parenting mantra is "embrace the chaos", and there is plenty of that when raising twin boys! You can follow her family adventures on instagram @krewedekaras

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