LIFE Helps Loretta See Her True Worth

When LIFE Beaver County participant, Loretta Creach, first heard about Lutheran SeniorLife’s Living Independence for the Elderly program, she didn’t consider it a match for her self-sufficient lifestyle.

Socially reserved and mostly independent, Loretta was more than comfortable being on her own.

Now enrolled in the LIFE program since May 2018, Loretta’s perception has entirely changed.

“It’s just so wonderful to have a team surrounding you that’s professional and nice,” Creach said.

“Whatever problems I’m having, they always have time to listen.”

At no moment was this more evident than when Loretta disclosed her breast cancer adversities to LIFE Beaver County occupational therapist, Maria Williams.

Diagnosed in June of 1998, the removal of half of Loretta’s right breast left her damaged with a negative self-image and a resistance to intimate relationships.

“It took a major toll on my love life because I didn’t want to be seen for the way I looked,” Creach said.

“I would say ‘Who is going to want someone with a quart-size and a pint-size breast?’.”

Many people underestimate the physical, social and emotional intensity associated with breast cancer that can range anywhere from isolation to feelings of permanent loss.

Nearly two decades and a complete remission later, faith healed most of these wounds for Loretta but one large insecurity remained: The shame connected to losing half of one breast.

However, Loretta would soon come to realize that the decision to open up with Maria would close this chapter of discomfort once and for all.

Without hesitation, Maria explained the solution of a lumpectomy bra that could be worn with breast prostheses if needed.

“I honestly thought Loretta’s story was a blessing in disguise because it gave me an opportunity to let her know that she was worth so much more than just her exterior,” said Williams.

Since gaining access to her specialized bra, Loretta’s poise and self-assurance have grown in a multitude of ways.

She is no longer ashamed of her appearance and has even gone so far as to purchase new wardrobe pieces due to her renewed confidence.

Loretta has continued to embrace the support of LIFE staff with more rewards emerging in the form of her pledge to quit smoking and the courage to share her unique talents of creating religious word searches with others.

Her message to other women in similar circumstances is one of hope, “You are not alone.”

“LIFE helped me deal with the scars of breast cancer and I want other women to know there is always help if you need it,” said Creach.