Never miss a routine check-up, examine your breasts monthly, and if something feels off – don’t linger. Go see a doctor. These are the top pieces of advice from Getinge’s Linda Skogsberg who had to put her hopes to life science while going through breast cancer.
Something in the results from Linda Skogsberg’s mammography was unclear, and she was called for a second screening.
“Those days are like a haze to me. I was worried and couldn’t focus on anything else but waiting to hear back from the hospital. When they called and asked me to come in the next day and bring a relative I had some sort of hope left in me that this wasn’t cancer, that it was something else,” says Linda who works at the global MedTech company Getinge.
The next morning Linda and her husband sat in a hospital room, feeling as if the roof was about to cave in. The first thing the surgeon said was “You have breast cancer, Linda. Did you know?”
Linda struggled not to break down as she was processing this information. Her husband asked loads of questions while Linda thought about how to tell their children. She had one imminent question occupying her entire mind.
“Will I survive? I was scared to ask but I did it anyway. My second shock that day was when the surgeon told me that I would. She even said I would eventually get well.”
This was the start of an intense and challenging time for Linda and her family. Although the world was facing a pandemic, her treatments took off quickly.
“My diagnosis was hormone positive and HER2-positive; an aggressive, rapidly growing cancer with a high risk of relapse. But thanks to science there is significant progress and today’s antibody medicines are reducing the risk of relapse, which have changed the outlook for women like me.”
Linda had to undergo chemotherapy, a mastectomy and radiation and is still in the final steps of her antibody and additional chemotherapy treatments. Even though medication will be part of her life for years, she is today well and the tumors discovered in her body are no longer there.
“I have always found life science important but now I understand that it actually means everything. Should this have happened 25 years ago, I would be in even bigger trouble. I am beyond words grateful to the researchers who cracked the code. Thanks to them, I have antibody warriors inside me fighting cancer cells on the run. They find them, and destroy them.”
While Linda’s life was turned upside down and she had to face some of her greatest fears, she decided early on not to become her illness.
“I am still Linda, it’s just that for a while I had to be Linda with breast cancer. Although I have been tired to the bone I would say having three kids has helped me get through it and focus on other things. I also got a piece of important advice early on to try staying positive; that an optimistic mindset would give the body energy enough to handle the exhausting treatments. I find this to be very true.”
To all women out there Linda has a message:
“Never miss a routine check-up and examine your breasts every month. There are excellent apps to support you. If something feels off – don’t linger. Go see a doctor. Even if science is progressing we need to keep investigating our own bodies. If my story can encourage just one person to take precautions I feel like I am part of making a difference, and that means a lot.”
Age: 42 years
Job: Media & PR Manager at Getinge
Family: Husband and three kids, two cats and a little puppy called Otis
Hobbies: Exercising, seeing friends and travel