Kirkland woman battles breast cancer while arranging daughter’s wedding

For a mother, planning a daughter’s wedding can be stressful.

For a mother, planning a daughter’s wedding can be stressful.

Try planning one while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment for breast cancer.

Kirkland native Elaine Loveland is living proof that it can be done.

When Loveland was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, she was living in Shanghai with her husband, Ralph Loveland, a general manager at Dow Corning.

A short return home during the summer resulted in a life-changing event. Loveland had a mammogram after discovering a lump while she was in China. The mammogram results showed she had Stage 1 breast cancer. Although the cancer was detected early, Loveland said it was hard news to process because she was the first woman in her family to be diagnosed.

“It was pretty shocking,” she said. “I am an extremely healthy person. For me to get sick – it was a surprise, a shock.”

Loveland returned home to Kirkland for chemotherapy and radiation treatment because there was no treatment readily available for her in Shanghai.

The Kirkland native was treated at numerous hospitals in the area, including Swedish Medical, the University of Washington and EvergreenHeatlth. In the meantime, while undergoing treatment she also had to organize her daughter’s wedding.

“That is hard to do by yourself,” she said.

Fortunately the wedding, and the treatments, went well. She said during the six months she was treated she never got sick and just “felt a little cold.”

“I was one of the lucky ones,” Loveland said. “But they wanted to really attack it.”

Not only did her family live in the area to provide support, but her husband flew back to Kirkland from China every three weeks while she underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“My whole family was here,” she said. “My sisters were wonderful. My daughters and I did a lot together. They were all emotionally supportive.”

Loveland also had to undergo very strong chemotherapy treatments because although the cancer had not reached the lymph nodes yet, the doctors informed her it was an aggressive cancer strain.

“I really wasn’t worried,” she said.

Yet, aside from a fever and a brief trip to the hospital, the treatments did not prevent her from helping to plan her daughter’s wedding.

She also learned that her cancer is not genetic, which came as a relief to her sisters and daughters.

So far, Loveland has been cancer-free since last August. She did have to have a mastectomy, from which she is currently recovering. Nevertheless, Loveland said she considers herself lucky to have found her cancer early enough to have it treated. Having lived in Michigan, New Jersey and even India, Loveland said she and her husband are back here in Kirkland to stay for good.

“I wouldn’t be doing what I do now if it weren’t for getting tested,” Loveland said.