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Survivor Interview – Dorene S.

Dorene is a breast cancer survivor. She talks about having diabetes and cancer, communicating with her husband, and meeting other survivors.

A woman with short curly hair wears a patterned hoodie and is being interviewed against a black background.

I visited a tribal doctor but it was for something else. They’re the ones that found a lump.

We went down for our son’s operation, just me and him. While I was down there, they were gonna see if I needed a biopsy through the X-rays. It turned out I did. So I asked him to go down to be with us. We were there for five weeks, and he was there four weeks.

At first, I was sad. Angry. And then we started with a game plan. My husband was always there. We got closer. He’d talk to me. He’s always calm, so that helped. Sometimes the calmness would get me mad, but I’d have to remember he was there for me.

I got diabetes in March of this year. I was borderline diabetic for nine years. The stress on my body, couldn’t take it anymore. I check my blood at least three times a day, if I can remember. The medicine I take makes me forget.

My family comes first even more now. In our culture, we are quiet. We don’t talk about things. After getting cancer, I started talking to people, “Get your mammograms. It’ll save your life. It saved mine.” I had to force myself to do it. I started talking to other cancer patients when they register, because they are survivors and most people don’t know there are other survivors. Most of them are real glad. They want to meet with other cancer survivors just to talk, because sometimes some of the families they are with can’t talk about certain things. I’m happy to help them. I get excited.

My name is Dorene Stein Karmun. I’m a two-year cancer survivor.

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