Battling Bruin: Lisa

Posted February 2015

Lisa Tudzin ’84 graduated with a B.A. in Psychology. Her daughter, Hannah, continues the legacy as a second generation Bruin and is currently a sophomore at UCLA.

In July 2014, Lisa went in for a routine mammogram and when doctors asked her to follow up with an ultrasound and several biopsies, she still believed it was "much ado about nothing." In August, Lisa listened in disbelief as she received the bad news - breast cancer. There was no denying it any longer as she "was in for a long, awful year but the prognosis was good". Lisa had a mastectomy in September and is just now coming to the end of eight chemotherapy treatments. She will soon begin six weeks of radiation treatment. After one final reconstruction surgery in the summer of 2015, Lisa is looking forward to being able to put this ordeal all behind her. Lisa will be diligent about regular check-ups and is hopeful that she "will never have to endure this past year's difficulties again."

As expected, Lisa was completely unprepared to face the challenges of her medical condition in general but was in most despair about losing her hair. She could not bear the thought of shaving her head and having to look in the mirror every day. Lisa's chemo treatments included an aspect that is a bit unusual. Her doctor had told her about Penguin Cold Caps and Lisa was on board. The Cold Caps are frozen in a biomedical freezer and are worn on chemotherapy treatment days. While the caps add both a large investment of money and time (it added four to five hours to each treatment day), Lisa says that "it was worth every dollar and hour". Lisa kept a fair amount of her hair and helped her to "not really look sick". Lisa hopes that the use of Penguin Cold Caps will become more common place and will be used by women in years to come.

Never missing a UCLA football game this past season despite all that was going on in Lisa’s life, the family watched the games on TV, proudly wearing their Bruin best, from the first game all the way to the Alamo Bowl. Lisa even made it to the Parents' Weekend game in between treatments. Lisa has been so fortunate to have the full and loving support of her family - her husband, Michael, her daughters, Hannah and Sarah. They have been by her side every step of the way. Her parents, other family members, and so many, many friends have also taken wonderful care of her during this time. Initially, Lisa had just wanted to keep her condition a secret and undergo the surgeries and treatments without letting all but a few people know. Slowly, she opened up to others and, as difficult as it has been, Lisa has learned to accept the help and caring that her circle of friends and family have generously offered. Lisa says "it is time now for me to give back to all of them, to be there for others when they need me, and to resume my visits to the UCLA campus once in a while to enjoy a meal in Westwood with my Bruin girl!"

The UCLA Spirit Squad is so proud to present this month’s Battling Bruin, Lisa Tudzin. We send her our continued prayers and support as she continues the final phases of her treatment.

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