Baylor Health Care System Foundation

Patient Stories


Breast Cancer Survivor

For Adele Ichilian, riding horses is life.  So when she got her breast cancer diagnosis and learned she would need a mastectomy, the first thing she wanted to know was how long she would be out of the saddle. A practical, down-to-earth grandmother, Adele has always been vibrant and active. Being told she had cancer was a stunning blow.

But Adele was determined to survive. She told her surgeon that she could live without her breasts, as long as she lived to see her granddaughters’ weddings. She considers herself lucky to have had the type of cancer that was not invasive. It meant that if the surgeon could remove all the cancer, it’s likely that it would not reoccur. And she could avoid having chemotherapy and radiation. Still, she was looking at major surgery.

For Adele, another fortunate break was having a personal nurse navigator to guide her through the process. Her navigator made appointments, explained diagnostic terms, gave Adele her cell phone number and made herself available 24 hours a day. That could be why Adele was so calm on the day of surgery. She was strong enough to go home the next day. Four weeks later, she was back at work.

Today, Adele is cancer-free, but stays in touch with her navigator. Just like before, she keeps busy on the horse show circuit, accompanied by her best friend, a horse she calls “Better Than Therapy.” She also looks forward to the not-too-distant future when a wedding will take place, and the person dancing the most will be Adele. 

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The number one cancer treated at Baylor.