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Survivor Spotlight featuring Linda Doyle

10.30.2013 / Blog Posts Breast Cancer Awareness

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Our next special WOW survivor spotlight features Linda Doyle, 61, a product analyst and grandmother from College Park, Maryland. Doyle is a relatively new fan of the Redskins who became interested in football watching her grandsons play on county teams. Because her grandchildren are avid Redskins fans, she started watching the games with them and was hooked. Her favorite players are RGIII and Santana Moss. Doyle, who has no family history of breast cancer, was diagnosed in January of this year with stage 1 invasive lobular cancer after a routine mammogram. She had a partial mastectomy and several weeks of radiation treatment. Doyle recently received an all-clear from her doctor after her six-month checkup.

What is your favorite Redskins memory?
Linda Doyle: I took my grandson to the game where RGIII had his final injury back in December of last year. There were two bluebirds the entire time on the wire where they film. I couldn’t believe it. But it was a special moment because I had my grandson with me. I like being able to talk to my grandsons about the team because they both play football. Now I actually watch the games with my family and with the boys.

What is your game day ritual or superstition?
Linda Doyle: I made a scarf when I became a fan last year and I wear that when I watch the games. I just purchased a pink NFL Washington Redskins sweatshirt that has “Crucial Catch” on it and I wore that [against the Broncos] but it didn’t seem to do the team any good.

Who was your support system?
Linda Doyle: The support from my two children was unbelievable. My daughter was the comforter and my son was my comic relief. Their support during my diagnosis, surgery and treatment I will never forget. My surgery was February 19, 2013 this year. My husband was beside me every step of the way. One thing I will never forget is the look in his eyes when the doctor told me I had cancer. It broke my heart and I told him I never wanted to see that face again. He was with me for every appointment, every treatment. He would make sure that I got every question answered from the doctors.

My daughter and son wanted to show support for what I was going through so they formed a team for the Susan G. Komen walk in Ocean City in April 2013.  Our team, about 20 of us, raised over $6,000 in support of Breast Cancer Awareness and finding a cure. I was still in radiation therapy and was extremely tired and had no strength so my friends who joined the team, Team Beach Boobies, stuck me in a wheelchair and pushed me for the 5K. They all took turns pushing me. I was overwhelmed by my children, husband, extended family and friends.  Two weeks ago I attended the Susan G. Komen walk in Hunt Valley. This time I walked the whole thing!

Looking back, what do you wish you knew before undergoing treatment?
Linda Doyle: I wish they would have told me my shoulder froze a little bit and I had to go to physical therapy because I didn’t know I was supposed to be moving my shoulder. I tended to keep it close to me because of course my breasts were hurting. Because I didn’t use it I ended up having to go to physical therapy to get the strength back to move it again because all my chest muscles were inflamed by me not using it. And I wish they would have told me about the radiation burns because I got severely burned from the radiation. I didn’t know that was going to happen.

What have you learned from your experience?
Linda Doyle: I learned that I’m a little bit stronger than what I thought I was. And I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. I know I’ve heard that all these years but when I get challenged with something, I think to myself, “I beat cancer. I can do this.” In the scheme of things, does it really matter? No, it doesn’t.

If there’s one thing you would share with other women reading this story, what would it be?
Linda Doyle: I just want to impress upon them the importance of a mammogram. I did not feel any lumps. For years I went through going with a clear mammogram and then all of a sudden it came up. Everybody kept saying, “Oh it’s probably nothing. We’re just going to go through the motions of doing the testing.” And it ended up being a cancer. If it weren’t for that mammogram, and if I hadn’t gone religiously every year, then my outcome would have been a lot worse. And I would hope that women remember to get them.I am one of the lucky ones because it was stage 1. Even though it was invasive lobular, it was because of the mammogram. If I’d gone an extra year who knows what stage it would have been.

During the month of October --  in conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the NFL’s “A Crucial Catch” initiative -- we are delighted to introduce a blog series spotlighting breast cancer survivors on WOWRedskins.com. This Breast Cancer Survivor Spotlight Series will share the inspiring stories of these extraordinary women and special WOW members with the Redskins community while continuing to raise breast cancer awareness and educate women about the importance of annual screenings.

Amanda Rykoff is a New York City-based sports writer. She’s a proud Penn alum, recovering attorney, devoted aunt, and voracious consumer of media. She has contributed to espnW.com, The Outside Corner, ONE World Sports, Sports On Earth, The Football Girl and other media outlets. Follow her on Twitter (@amandarykoff).

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