Doctor turned patient speaks on cancer care

May 03, 2019
Madeline Lewis with her son
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Dr. Madelene Lewis and her son, Isaac, celebrate life at her head shaving party. See more great moments from the party in our photo gallery. Photos provided

Receiving a standing ovation after sharing her story, Madelene Lewis, M.D. got hugs and congratulations from many women attending the Linda Floyd Forum on Women’s Cancers event May 1. She described what it was like to switch from being a doctor to a patient. Lewis was diagnosed in February with stage one breast cancer and is currently in treatment, but she’s determined not to let it hold her back. She still is working, cheering at her sons’ soccer games and speaking at community events.

She also is learning how to live with cancer and sharing tips with others. Shortly after her diagnosis, Lewis threw a special party. Her husband, three sons and many close friends and family members came together to shave their heads or add pink hair extensions to be in solidarity with Lewis.

“I took what I know to be a low point for many patients and tried to turn it into something positive. It was a wonderful day with my friends and family around me,” Lewis says. She hopes her testimony will encourage women to get regular mammograms and take action if they notice any changes in their bodies.

“In general, I’m a very private person,” she says. “When I was asked to talk [at the Floyd Forum], my initial reaction was not to, but then I realized, if this could potentially make a positive impact for one person, it’s worth my time.”

Lewis says the toughest part of the journey has been having to tell her loved ones about her diagnosis.

“All the people that love me, their worlds were going to change too,” she says, adding that she feels she’s a better wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend now. “And I’m definitely a better doctor.” She went on to share how much it has meant for all the small things that people have done for her or said to her. The small touches matter.

“When, not if, you hear of a family member that has cancer, just be there for them.”