On the first day of Jillian Gregory’s chemo treatments, she and her husband Richard weren’t sure what to expect.
“I didn’t know how sick I would feel,” said Jillian. “I wasn’t sure if I would feel weak or not; I wasn’t sure if I would be up for doing anything after the treatment.”
Chemotherapy is notorious for sapping the strength out of its recipients. Jillian knew that this was a possibility, even after just one treatment. They had learned all about the different options on August 31, when Jillian had first been diagnosed. While they didn’t know what to anticipate, their hopes were high.
Upon diagnosis, Jillian was fully prepared for a double mastectomy, thinking that the best circumstance would be to have no possible recurrence of cancer after she beat it this time. Much to her amazement, her surgeon told her a lumpectomy would more than suffice. They removed the tumor with relative ease, and she moved on to her next phase of treatment: chemotherapy.
Jillian’s prognosis was good; they caught it early. Stage 1 HER2-positive breast cancer, she was told; specifically a type called invasive ductal carcinoma. It was considered a small tumor, only 1.8 centimeters in size. She had her lumpectomy on September 8, so after two and a half weeks of recovery, doctors deemed she was ready for the next steps. This treatment would be the first of twelve rounds of chemo over twelve weeks, followed by radiation.
When Jillian and Richard left the oncology center on September 27, she decided she felt well enough to make a few stops. First on the list: a stop at EYE-Q’s Fresno location, where the Gregorys are both patients. She needed her glasses adjusted and Richard needed to pick up his sunglasses—it wouldn’t take long.
When they walked in, Jillian was surprised to find the lobby unusually… pink. Bright pink. A huge pink screen was up against one wall, and there were a bunch of pink sunglasses emblazoned with the words #EYEseePink. She was stopped in her tracks. EYE-Q had undergone a temporary transformation in honor of breast cancer awareness month. It wasn’t October yet, but the #EYEseePink event had already taken place at the Old Town Clovis Friday night Farmers Market. Organizers had moved the photo booth and all of the pink sunglasses to EYE-Q until the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The perfect timing wasn’t lost on Jillian.
“It felt like destiny,” said Jillian. “I thought, ‘How perfect is this?’”
She and her husband immediately picked up their own pairs of pink sunglasses and posed for a selfie in front of the screen. She has always loved the way that EYE-Q supports the community, but this cause was near and dear to her heart, and she couldn’t get over the feeling that fate had led her to see this.
“I wasn’t really planning on having breast cancer,” she said. “I was walking on one path, going north, and it felt like all of a sudden I was just going west. My path simply changed. But I believe everything happens for a reason, and it was no coincidence that I went to EYE-Q that day.”
EYE-Q’s breast cancer awareness campaign includes donations from employees, as well as encouraging donations from the community. All proceeds benefit the Marjorie E. Radin Breast Care Center at Clovis Community Medical Center. For more information on the campaign or to make a donation, go to eyeseepink.com. Jillian had recently made a friend who was walking a similar path as hers: a woman named Tracy Owensby.
You see, Tracy has breast cancer, too. She is a middle school teacher whose husband went to high school with Jillian. They have become close friends, and Jillian feels as though part of her purpose in life was to find Tracy so they could walk their paths together. As if she needed more proof of this, Tracy is receiving care at the Radin Breast Care Center, the beneficiary of the cause that affected Jillian so deeply that day at EYE-Q.