Breast Cancer Survivor’s Care Inspires Husband, Retired Doctor, to Return to Practice

A Northern Michigan breast cancer survivor says an early mammogram saved her life, and her husband credits her cancer journey as his inspiration to make a change in his life.

When urologist Dr. Bryan Shumaker and his wife Linda decided to retire in 2011, they made Northern Michigan their permanent home.

“We decided I was through with work, we were just going to enjoy ourselves,” Bryan said.

Last May, their retirement took a turn.

“I did not expect this, I didn’t have family history, I didn’t feel anything, I didn’t feel any different, I just went for my yearly mammogram,” Linda said.

Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“First you’re a little bit numb, and you think now what,” Linda said.

She had surgery, chemo treatments and radiation.

“Ohhh it was very difficult, the side effects were very difficult,” Linda said. “I would not wish it on anyone.”

Her husband was by her side the whole way.

“It was a trying time, but on the other hand it brought us closer together,” Bryan said.

“It’s very scary but everyone in this group, they are so good to teach you, that I felt trust in them and they were great,” Linda said.

They both say the care at the Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Northern Michigan made getting through cancer easier.

“I had a second mammogram this year that was negative so that was something to celebrate,” Linda said. “I really feel like I’m going in the right direction.”

Bryan was so impressed with the way McLaren cared for his wife, Dr. Shumaker decided to come out of retirement and join the team.

“I think things happen for a reason,” Dr. Shumaker said. “I feel like I’m giving back, there’s a huge need for urologist here.”

“I said ‘really you really want to do that?’ He said ‘I do,’ and he loves it,” Linda said. “He loves his work.”

Now while Dr. Shumaker spends more time at McLaren, Linda spends her time sharing the importance of early mammograms with women.

She also started a cancer support group at her church.

“I was caught very early because I go for the screening mammogram every year,” Linda said. “Do not put it off cause you never know.”