Dyann Kotansky

I’m 66 years old, married with four grown sons and a retired math teacher. I enjoy sewing, golfing, biking and yoga.

Age at Diagnosis: 65

Treatment: Had a biopsy on Dec 31, 2019 in Chicago. I was told I had invasive ductile carcinoma on Jan 3, 2020 one day after moving to Tequesta, FL. We knew no one in Florida other than our son, nor did we have any doctor in Florida. We reached out to our realtor who did some research and recommended some doctors. It was with her help that we found Dr. Taft, breast surgeon, and had all of my medical records and test results from IL sent to her. Had my first consultation with Dr Taft and her team on Jan 13. We left that visit feeling reassured that we had found the right doctor for me.

Surgery/Reconstruction: Fortunately, the tumor was found early and did not appear to have reached the lymph nodes. A lumpectomy was performed on March 4. During this surgery a sentinel lobe biopsy was performed to make sure the lymph nodes were clean. The pathology report came back that all margins were clear. No further surgery needed at this time.

Chemo: None needed

Radiation: I was very fortunate. Because of my age, the size of the tumor and no invasion to the lymph nodes, I qualified for Inter Operative Radiation Therapy (IORT). I was able to receive radiation directly to the tumor bed once the tumor had been removed and before the incision was closed. Jupiter Medical has the machine to perform this type of radiation which is not available at many other hospitals. That was the only radiation I needed.

Message for other women: HAVE YOUR MAMMOGRAMS EVERY YEAR. I was actually a few months late in getting my mammogram, but with selling our IL home and dealing with all the stressful events that go along with that, I had put it off. I wanted to make sure I had my mammogram in IL before we moved as they had all my previous reports. My journey has been an ‘easy’ one in comparison to some of the other breast cancer warriors, as my tumor was found early. Please know that breast cancer is not age specific. It can happen to anyone at any age. There is no cancer of any kind in my family!! This came as a complete shock as I have always been very healthy and in good physical shape. Have you had your mammogram yet this year? If not, PLEASE MAKE YOUR APPOINTMENT TODAY!!

The inspiration behind my chair is birds and specifically doves. For more than fifty years doves have appeared at certain times in my life. The first time was back in 1970 on the day of my older sisters’ wedding, it happened again seven months later when my next older sister got married. We told our mom and she broke down in tears saying: “This is Grandma, letting us know she is with us today”.

My maternal Grandma had passed away several years before, she was a most loved woman who was very close to her family and she is missed every day. She loved birds and had a beautiful flower garden filled with bird feeders and bird baths. She found peace and beauty in the world watching the birds fill her yard.

Since then birds (specifically Doves) have appeared to us at critical times letting us know that our loved ones who have passed continue to be with us and watch over us in trying times. One noteworthy story is a few days after the Sandy Hook massacre. This tragedy occurred in December. I remember sitting in our Chicago area home with my husband addressing our Christmas cards. Our world was in mourning thinking about those 26 little lives that were taken by a gunman. My husband looked out and saw 3 doves sitting right outside our window (my grandma, my dad and my 21-year-old nephew had passed by then) on a bare branch of a rose bud tree. Keep in mind that it was December and doves are not usually present at this time of year. These 3 doves just sat there side by side looking towards our house. I opened our sliding glass door, took pictures of them and just stared back. They stayed there for about 10 to 15 minutes. We felt it was their way of telling us that those 26 little souls had been welcomed into heaven and were being taken care of and loved.

My loving mom passed away in March of 2019. In April on 2019, a dove built a nest right by the light fixture outside our backdoor and stayed there most of the summer. A dove had never built a nest there before. I know she is always with me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2020, right after moving to Tequesta, Florida. There is a plethora of wildlife right outside of our screened in patio. Shortly after my diagnosis, we were sitting on our patio, trying to digest the reality of having breast cancer and 4 sand cranes slowly walked right up to our screen and stayed there for a while. I knew that I was going to be just fine…

And…one more thing helped me thru this and that is my relationship with Jesus Christ. A friend sent me a book, shortly after I was diagnosed, Jesus Calling, Enjoying Peace in His Presence. While reading the daily messages, I felt Jesus talking to me and helping me walk thru this new journey. It was similar to having a daily conversation with Jesus. I know He was and is always at my side…

Chair Location

Brio Tuscan Grille at the Gardens Mall
3101 PGA Boulevard

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410