Nora Mikhael Fard knew in her heart something was wrong

April 02, 2014

She was just 34 in 1994 when she found a lump in her breast, and even though the radiologist reading her initial mammogram found nothing amiss, Nora decided six months later to have the mass removed.

The lump proved cancerous, confirming her fears, and Nora came to Dr. Shamel Sanani at the Providence Holy Cross Cancer Center for help. She had a lot at stake with a husband and two young daughters at home.

“I found the lump but the other doctor couldn’t find anything,” said Nora, a native of Iran who now lives in Calabasas. “It was a very early stage. Six months later when we found it was malignant, Dr. Sanani took care of me. He’s a wonderful doctor and a wonderful person.”

Nora underwent chemotherapy and radiation, but in 1997 she suffered shortness of breath and returned to Holy Cross. A chest X-ray revealed a recurrence and the cancer had spread to her lung. This time Dr. Sanani recommended a highly specialized stem cell treatment not available at Providence Holy Cross, and Nora found what she wanted at City of Hope. Still Dr. Sanani guided her, visiting her at City of Hope and even donating blood for her.

“He was wonderful. Holy Cross was wonderful. They took good care of me and he even watched out for me when I went to City of Hope.” For Nora, every day is a special day.

 “You look at life differently, you start appreciating things,” she said. “It was very hard to be diagnosed with cancer when my children were young. I was so fortunate to have good medical care. They helped give me the power to fight, to fight for my family, to be here watching my daughters grow up.”