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Cory Pacheco, RN, on Breast cancer survivor recommends seeking a second opinion

Published on | Eric Brown

It’s been 12 years since Registered Nurse Cory Pacheco heard the one word every single person fears … cancer.

“When I got that phone call, it sucked the life right out of me,” she recalls vividly. “I eat right, I exercise regularly, I don’t smoke, I drink socially … I do everything I can to stay healthy and there is no family history of cancer, but I still got it. My life took an about face in just seconds,” she shares during The Breast of Everything podcast, hosted by Comprehensive Breast Care Surgeon Linsey Gold, DO, FACOS, FACS.

“I have a younger relative who smokes, has high blood pressure, is overweight, eats fast food, and isn’t compliant with her medications. Her mammogram was clean. I felt like my body had betrayed me,” Cory announces.

“We are not as in charge as we think we are,” she reflects.

Her next step was to find the right medical team to take care of her. Cory lined up three surgeons and set up visits with each.

The first surgeon directed her on what she had to do, giving her no options. After her second appointment – with Linsey Gold, DO, FACOS, FACS – Cory decided she did not need a third opinion. Dr. Gold was her choice. She spent three hours with Cory answering every one of Cory’s questions.

“I needed everything answered and Dr. Gold did just that. She laid it all on the table and gave me my options. She didn’t rush my decision; she gave me plenty of time to think it through. I had the freedom to make my choice. It is my body; it should be my decision,” Cory says with conviction.

Together, Cory and Dr. Gold came up with a treatment plan that Cory was comfortable with.

“I felt like I was talking with a friend,” Cory notes. “Dr. Gold wanted to know my fears, she suggested I see two or three other doctors for a second opinion, and she even encouraged it. I don’t see that very often with physicians.”

After Cory’s surgery, Dr. Gold recommended radiation therapy, but, after extensive research and long discussions with Dr. Gold, Cory declined that treatment as well as chemotherapy. Dr. Gold respected and honored Cory’s decision.

Today, 12 years later, Cory is cancer-free and looking forward to retirement in a couple of years. “This experience changed my life,” she reflects. “I got rid of the toxic relationships in my life, I’m going to church again, my faith is stronger than ever before, and I don’t focus on the negative. It’s changed me as a nurse, too. I listen more intently when patients talk with me, and I’ve learned I can learn a lot from my patients just by listening more.”


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