Joanne Glasser’s mother used to always tell her “when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.”
That advice may be especially important for the university president as her recent breast cancer diagnosis presents her with challenges and obstacles.
“I just look at it as a minor bump in my life’s journey,” Glasser said, smiling. “It may be an uncomfortable bump … but it is a minor bump, and it is one that I will get over and I will continue to persevere.”
Glasser underwent surgery last week and will begin six weeks of radiation soon.
“I feel really lucky and very blessed, and I want the campus to be reassured that I am well on the way to a speedy recovery and I’m very positive about my future and the future of Bradley,” she said.
Glasser is very fortunate that the type of breast cancer she was diagnosed with is treatable, she said in an e-mail addressed to all students, faculty and staff that was sent out Wednesday afternoon.
Glasser said she was shocked when she found out she had breast cancer during a routine mammogram.
“I think at first it was kind of a little disbelief because I certainly have an abundance of energy,” she said.
She said she thought it was important to share the diagnosis with the Bradley community because of the promise she made to students to be accessible and visible.
“I think I have a responsibility to our students, and I think I have a responsibility to our community to speak up and speak very loudly and clearly about the importance of seeking medical treatment and about the importance of being positive,” she said.
She said she wanted to share her story because there is a sense of family at Bradley.
“We share things good and bad and we bind together and provide support and encouragement, and this was a very human and personal thing to share as a family,” she said.
Glasser said she wants to serve as an inspiration and a role model for all women and men to seek regular check-ups for early detection.
“If it helps one person in this community or this campus, I will feel very good about sharing my story,” she said.
She said people are becoming more open about discussing breast cancer in recent times.
“Nobody talked about breast cancer years ago for a lot of reasons,” she said. “It was either uncomfortable and awkward … the mortality rate is better, and I think a lot of that is not only due to the significant research that has been done, but people are more forthright about talking about it.”
Although radiation may leave Glasser feeling fatigued, she said in the e-mail it will not affect her work.