By Lexi Johnson ’18
Life is a difficult and treacherous journey for students and professors alike. Many professors are not a small town girl or just a city boy taking the midnight train to nowhere. Many of them face difficulty journeys just to get to Pacific Lutheran University and serve us.
One such example is Lynn Tucker, a professor in the department of kinesiology, who battled and overcame breast cancer before teaching at PLU.
In January of 2010, Tucker had her first mammogram.
“I thought: I’m always taking care of myself, I don’t have any risk factors, I’m not the type of person who is going to get breast cancer,” said Tucker. “Sure enough, it was the first mammogram ever and it showed up.”
But, the journey did not stop there. She proceeded with many uncomfortable tests to find what kind of breast cancer she had while having a lumpectomy, a surgery to remove cancer from breast, and radiation treatment. The results later revealed that she was positive for genetic mutation which means that she had a rare breast cancer that was caused by a gene defect. According to the American Cancer Society, “about 5 percent to 10 percent of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary, meaning that they are caused by gene defects (called mutations) passed on from a parent.”
Yet, Tucker did not rest. She continued to fight the breast cancer by having a double-mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery. Yet, there was an error and it had to be redone. After the second reconstruction surgery, she got an infection.
“While the cancer didn’t kill me, the infection almost did,” Tucker said.
In the final frontier, she remained in the hospital for another 17 days trying to fight the infection and thinking that one of those days would be her last. Until two anonymous women came to her and prayed for her health.
By some miracle, she was better the next day and finally on her way home. She had won.
She went back to her dream job as a teacher but the prayer that saved her life made her want to explore the spiritual side her life. Something that she could not do at a public school. So when the teaching position she was once denied became available at Pacific Lutheran University, she decided to leave the job she loved in order to embrace her religion.
Now, Tucker teaches a physical educations class (PHED 100) while working to create a blended course for the Foundations of Kinesiology. She hopes to connect with students beyond the classroom while being a resource on campus.
Many students at PLU who have had her class believe that she is more than just a resource: “Professor Tucker is one of those professor that lights up the room and makes you want to succeed,” said Kristen Kell, one of her PHED 100 students. “She makes you forget that you’re in a required GenEd class and makes you truly want to be there.”
However, Lynn Tucker’s main goal at Pacific Lutheran University is to, “smile and laugh everyday and help others do the same.”