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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

NISKAYUNA October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. One in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime and that statistic has recently hit the CBS6 newsroom.  Leslie Desjadon, a photographer and editor at CBS6 is currently fighting aggressive breast cancer.  Leslie and her husband Michael have four special needs sons, all adopted from other countries and they recently got even more bad news.  The family sat down with CBS6 investigative reporter Jennifer Lewke for a very personal conversation about how they're both coping with cancer diagnoses.
 
When youve got 4 sons, nothing in life is routine.  Leslie and Michal Desjadon adopted their two oldest sons, 16-year old Logan and 12-year old Sergi about 12 years ago from Ukraine.  Last year, they added two more to the family.  Both Kyle, 9 and Marek, 4 are from China.  The boys had been home with the family for only a few months when Leslie tripped and fell down the front stairs to their home.  She went to the doctor who sent her for an MRI and suggested while she was there she also get a mammogram.  The knee turned out to be fine but the mammogram revealed a problem.
 
It was come back and then it was come back again and then it was oh, now we're going to do an ultra sound, then oh wait now it's a biopsy and it was about a week and half later we got the phone call, Leslie remembers.  It was an aggressive form of breast cancer that would require immediate surgery.  For a very personal reason, Leslie decided she would have both breasts removed, My mother had just died two years ago of the same thing and I spent 20 years with my mom, she would take care of it and it would come back, she would take care of it, a few years later it would come back and it eventually took her life she says.
 
Unfortunately, thats what her older two sons had remembered about the disease as well, when I heard the word cancer, I thought of my grandmother when she had it and she ended up dying from it, so it was a big fear in my mind, thinking my parents were going to end up with the same fate, says Logan, the Desjadon's oldest son.  While Leslie went through surgery and began her chemotherapy, Michael tried to keep family life as normal as possible.
 
You feel helpless because there's nothing I can do besides trying to keep the home front going so she doesn't have to worry about it, so she can focus on what she needs to, Michael says. But a few months ago, he started feeling under the weather.  I said immediately, if you think you're getting a cold, you've got to get to the doctor because you're going to kill me, I have no immune system, Leslie remembers of a conversation she had with her husband.  The Desjadon's soon found out that Michael has thyroid cancer that has spread to his lymph nodes.  Hes already had surgery and will begin radiation treatment soon.
 
Each day something would come up, we'd be like, ya know what we'll get through it.  We don't know how, we'll do it, we just look at the immediate couple days in front of us, we can't look at two weeks out, three weeks out, Michael says of how he and his wife continue to stay positive despite such difficult news.  They say they get their outlook on life and their situation from Leslies mom who bravely fought cancer with a smile on her face, very soon after they told me, I knew in my head...I was like, I'm going to handle this, the way she handled this and at the end of the day we say, we could sit here and be miserable, be angry and complain and gripe and moan and groan and go round and round and round and at the end of it all we'll end up back in the same place...It's not going to change anything, Leslie says.
 
And there is still a very long road ahead.  Michael's treatment, another two months of Chemotherapy for Leslie and then, I have to finish the reconstruction on the top and then it has been recommended that I have my ovaries removed because with the BRCA gene, I have a 60% change of ending up with ovarian cancer as well, she says.
 
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