You can do this.

Ryanne’s Story

YOU CAN. When Acumen Account Executive Ryanne Covemaker was having hard days throughout her recent breast cancer treatment, this was her mantra. You can. You can do this. Whatever you put your mind to, you can do it. In her own words, “One day at a time is how I got through it. I knew there were going to be hard days. There were days when I wanted to give up. But I just always told myself, you can’t give up. You can do this. And I did.” Some days it just started with Ryanne telling herself, “You can get out of bed this morning.” It was just one step at a time following that first personal pep talk of “You Can.”

Just over one year ago, in August of 2022, Ryanne reached out to her primary care doctor after noticing a change in her breast. Her doctor ordered a mammogram which was quickly followed by an ultrasound and later a biopsy. Though she already knew after these procedures what was likely going to be said, she received the official news: she had breast cancer. She was 39 years old – not even old enough to have been considered for a routine mammogram yet. Her diagnosis was Stage 1B invasive ductal carcinoma of the right breast and DCIS/LCIS (pre-cancer) of the left breast.

After seeking a second opinion at the University of Iowa, there was no question that is where she wanted to receive her treatment. “Doctors, nurses, and care coordinators all knew my story and they mapped out all the options for me. They answered all my questions, and a treatment plan was put in place. For me, it was an easy decision. I was going to do whatever I needed to in order to be here long term for my kids.” That plan involved a bilateral mastectomy, 13 rounds of chemotherapy and 28 rounds of radiation which she finished on June 29, 2023.

Ryanne said, “I could not imagine this journey without the support of my husband, kids, family, friends, colleagues, even complete strangers.” Ryanne’s husband was by her side through the entire process and her mom and extended family were also a huge help. Their friends and community also lent a helping hand where they could. Many dropped off dinners which Ryanne had initially thought they didn’t need help with but having those dinners on hand made their busy nights easier. Their family would often giggle because the ingredients of some of the dishes weren’t entirely clear until baked and served, so they started calling everything ‘Casserole Surprise’!

Ryanne’s co-workers at Acumen reached out to support her when possible. But we didn’t have to worry about her for too very long as she was only away from work for eight weeks following surgery. After that, she worked as much as she was able to. She said, “Work kept me distracted.” In further looking back on the last year, Ryanne reflected that her “life (body and hair) will never be the same, but I am learning to accept”. She also added a note of advice: “Ladies! I can’t tell you how important it is to know your body, do self-exams, and don’t put off annual exams!”

Everyone at Acumen is thrilled that Ryanne is on the other side of this breast cancer journey now, and we are proud to honor her during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.