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2016 Honorary Co-Chairs
My cancer journey began in August 2007. I felt a lump one morning in the shower. I told my husband, Charlie, and he said , "I want you to call the Doctor today." The next day, I had a mammogram, followed by a biopsy, and within 3 days, learning I had stage III breast cancer. I was only 39 years old, so I had never had a mammogram, and with no family history, this was quite a shock. One week later, during my lumpectomy surgery, we found the cancer had already moved through my lymph nodes, so chemotherapy would be needed. After 6 weeks of recovery from the surgery, I began 6 months of chemo, every 2 weeks, followed by 45 radiation treatments.
It was a very rough road, but thanks to my husband, Charlie, my sons, C.J. and Cole, the rest of my family, neighbors, co-workers at Walmart, and of course all the wonderful Doctors, nurses, and staff along the way, I pulled through.
I continued with check ups every 6 months, all was going good until November 2011. I was not feeling good, so I went to see my Doctor. He did an immediate biopsy, which showed the cancer was now in my ovaries. I had a complete hysterectomy the following week. By catching it early enough this time, no further treatment was needed.
I just graduated to yearly check ups instead of every 6 months. I feel good these days and appreciate every day God gives me to spend with family and friends.
I want to thank the Heart & Sole Committee for this honor and all their hard work.
I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 1999. I was seeing my family PA for some allergy issues and mentioned to her a symptom that I was having. She told me that she didn't think it was anything, but I was close to the age where I should have a baseline mammogram anyway, so I followed though. I was 37 years old with no family history, so it really caught me off guard. I, along with my family and doctors, opted for a mastectomy on my right side. The cancer was caught early and my lymph nodes were clear, so no further treatment was necessary.
In May of 2005, as I was planning a trip to a family wedding, I went to see my doctor about removing a large mass on the back of my foot. When I went in for my pre-operation physical, I mentioned that I had some sharp pain on my lower left side. I was told that as long as I was having anesthesia to remove the mass from my foot, with my history, I should have a colonoscopy at the same time. Again, I was called into the surgeon's office. The mass on my foot was benign, but they did find a cancerous polyp. I had a colon resection to remove the polyp, but again was so lucky to have an early diagnosis and no further treatment was needed.
My doctor told me the two cancers were unrelated, but instructed me to stay vigilant and keep getting those annual checkups.
In the fall of 2010, I went in for my annual mammogram. This time, cancer was found on the left side. After a biopsy confirming the diagnosis, I opted for mastectomy of the left side with full reconstruction.
There are three main things that helped me get though this:
- My Faith
- Listening to my body and having people in the medical profession that I trusted and felt comfortable enough to discuss my symptoms.
- The amazing support of my family and friends.
January 4th, 2010 is the day I found out I had Non-Invasive DCIS Breast Cancer. It was found through a routine mammogram I had on Dec. 19th, 2009 and a biopsy I had on December 30th. I opted to have a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction, so surgery was scheduled January 19th, 2010. January 26th had surgery again to remove a hematoma that had developed. The next 3 months were weekly follow up appointments and to start the breast reconstruction process. Two more surgeries with my last surgery September 27th.
The loving support of my husband, daughters, grandchildren, mother, siblings, in-laws and co-workers, they all made what seemed like one of the worst things anyone could ever hear, “You have Cancer”, more bearable. Each and everyone of them played an important role in helping me through this that there are not enough words of gratitude that I can ever express to them.
I am 6 years Cancer-Free and everyday I can’t help but feel blessed.