BRAvo dancer profile: Betty and Dr. Kevin Klein

betty and dr. klein

It was New Year’s Eve, and 2012 was about to become 2013.

Betty was amongst revelers when she headed outside to get some fresh air. Naturally cold, she wrapped her arms around herself for warmth. It was then that she first felt something in her breast – a lump that wasn’t there days prior.

She had had lumps before and recently breastfed a young daughter, so she didn’t think too much of it at the time.

“I was only 34 years old,” Betty said. “I was trying so hard to convince myself that it was something else, but it was hard and had grown to the size of a cherry.”

She made an appointment with her family physician, who referred her to Dr. Stephen Cahill, a breast surgeon at McLaren Macomb.

Dr. Cahill immediately biopsied the lump and quickly determined what Betty had feared. She had stage 2 breast cancer.

Betty

“I was only 34 years old. I was trying so hard to convince myself that it was something else, but it was hard and had grown to the size of a cherry. My worst fear was leaving my kids. That really kept me going.”

 

“I always did monthly checks,” she said, “and didn’t think it could be something like this.”

After a lumpectomy from Dr. Cahill, Betty began treatment that consisted of 38 rounds of radiation and eight rounds of chemotherapy.

But about a year after her diagnosis, she was wrapping up her treatment. She had just had her port removed when she noticed a sharp pain near her lumpectomy incision site. She mentioned this to her oncologist.

“I felt this pain, and he gave me an examination right there,” she said. “And then he pulled me in for a hug and said, ‘I think you should see Dr. Cahill.’”

Dr. Cahill confirmed what oncologist Dr. Arthur Frazier had suspected. The cancer had returned.

Betty would now have to go through six months of intense chemo. Her first thoughts moved to her kids. The single mother of two young children, Betty could never imagine leaving her kids. She would do anything she had to.

“My worst fear was leaving my kids,” she said. “That really kept me going.”

Thanks to the generosity and support of very close friends (who Betty considers family), Betty was able to focus and concentrate on her treatment.

Although very intense, she came out of it with a clean bill of health and an enhanced perspective.

“I felt amazing, and I felt more alive than ever before,” she said. “I actually felt blessed with this whole thing because I see life in a whole new way.

“I feel the air, I feel the sun. I hug and I kiss and I love.”

Her new outlook brought her to BRAvo and “Dancing With Our Doc,” which she agreed to do without question.

She is paired with Dr. Kevin Klein, a family medicine physician with McLaren Macomb, who has had his own experiences with cancer, in both his personal and professional lives.

His maternal grandmother passed away from pancreatic cancer in less than six months after she was first diagnosed, and he also lost his paternal grandfather after a difficult battle with esophageal cancer. He also watched his paternal grandmother successfully go through treatment for cervical cancer and live a long life.

He’s also treated many patients over the years who he’s had to break the news to that they have cancer.

“That’s always the toughest part of being a physician,” he said. “It’s always tough on how to tell them and how they might react to it. You still absorb it.

“Some of these patients you’ve been seeing for a lifetime. Your job is to offer hope, and you see them through this.”

Dr. Klein, after some friendly cajoling from his office manager, agreed to dance at BRAvo.

With his experience extending to once doing a jitter bug at a coffee shop in medical school, he said, “I did it once, I could do it again.”

BRAvo 2019


“Ooh, La, La: Glitz, Glam and Mammograms”
bravo 2019 logo

 

October 15
The Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township
mclaren.org/bravo