Get Pink: INTEGRIS pharmacist continues work to save others during breast cancer fight
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
For 12 years, Tamara Mlekoday has worked to save the day.
She works as a pharmacist in the INTEGRIS Baptist Emergency Room, prescribing life saving medicine. She never misses a beat. Even after learning she had breast cancer. Mlekoday was diagnosed in October, just days after her 40th birthday.
"I saw my primary care physician the week before my birthday and we kind of laughed and she's like 'you know you're going to be 40 next week so I'm going to go ahead an order you a mammogram," she tells FOX 25.
That mammogram saved Mlekoday's life, catching her triple positive breast cancer early.
"My form of cancer is aggressive so I think if I had waited until the end of the year it could have been a much different story," Mlekoday said.
Mlekoday started with 18 weeks of chemotherapy treatments.
"So I went once every three weeks for six cycles. I then had a little break then went in and had surgery. I had a lumpectomy and reconstructive surgery in March," Mlekoday said.
Through all of her treatments, she came to work to help save the lives of others. All while she fought to save her own.
"My job through all of this is kind of my outlet. So, I made this promise to myself when I was diagnosed that I wanted to keep my schedule as close to normal as possible...I wanted to work and I wanted to keep working out and doing everything like I used to and for the most part I've kept to it." Mlekoday said.
Mlekoday says it was her co-workers at INTEGRIS that helped to get her through her darkest days.
"In fact on my first chemo treatment everybody dressed up in pink and texted me pictures all afternoon," Mlekoday said.
Now Mlekoday says she has a different perspective that can help others fighting a similar battle.
"I work in the emergency room and I directly have interactions with patients and I have run into all type of different cancer diagnosis, but since I've been diagnosed with breast cancer I think patients with breast cancer stick out to me...I've been able to kind of share with them what I'm going through if they happen to be patients in the emergency room," Mlekoday said.
Mlekoday says she is about to finish her last radiation therapy.