Lynn Engen’s experience as a military spouse prepared her to be resilient. That trait served her well recently in a battle with cancer.

Lynn Engen’s experience as a military spouse prepared her to be resilient. That trait served her well recently in a battle with cancer.

At the age of 44, Engen remembers when she was informed that she had stage 2 breast cancer. It was less than two months after her sister died of cancer.

“My first instinct was to fight,” said Engen, who lives on Fort Leavenworth with her family. “I was still very devastated from my sister’s death, but I put my emotions on the back burner and focused on the problem in front of me.”

Because of a history of cancer in her family, Engen had been getting annual MRIs and regular mammograms every six months. That early detection was important in her battle.

It was during one of those examinations that Dr. Kelsey Flynt, lead interpreting breast radiologist at Saint Luke’s North Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, discovered some abnormalities.

“Lynn really started herself on the path to cure by being her own advocate and getting her MRI,” Flynt said. “She had two breast masses and abnormal lymph nodes on the left side, so getting her timely care was really important.”

What soon followed were several sessions of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Engen was strong in her battle – and even had a good sense of humor about it.

“I would bring friends with me and we’d laugh the whole time,” she said. “I wasn’t going to sit there and be sad or depressed. Chemo wasn’t a breeze, but it went better than I expected. My friend and I would joke around that I wasn’t that sick.”

The second phase of chemotherapy treatment would occur at Saint Luke’s Cushing Hospital in Leavenworth.

Five months later, she finished her final chemo treatment – and the cancer was gone.

“It was amazing. We had a little celebration at my house,” she said. “It was really a relief. … At no point during my care did I ever feel that I was left alone. There was never a time where I thought I couldn’t call somebody with a question.”

These days, Engen is working with a nutritionist to ensure she is eating the best foods to reduce the chance of recurrence.

For more information, call Saint Luke’s Cushing Hospital at 913-684-1156.