By: Elizabeth Myers, Komen Coastal Georgia Survivor Chair
As the Survivor Chair for the Komen Coastal Georgia Affiiate, it is my honor to notify our Survivor of the Month nominees. Early in November, I called Lynn Bishop to congratulate her on her nomination and she was quite giddy and very humble to receive this honor. Lynn tells her story with honest frankness.
She begins her story in August 2001 when she noticed a lump in her left breast. This resulted in her doctor scheduling a mammogram, followed by a biopsy in the same day. She was 34 yrs old with two small children and was suddenly diagnosed with breast cancer. Her first thoughts were "this can't be happening; I'm too young". She immediately called a "pow-wow" with her mom and two sisters, who comforted her. "At that point, I knew I could do this", she said. Knowing she would go bald, her mom shaved her head first, so the children wouldn't be scared when her hair started to fall out. In time to come, she underwent chemotherapy, radiation and 5 years of Tamoxifen.
Eight years after she was originally diagnosed, she developed what she thought was Bell's palsy on the left side of her face. A scan was ordered, and there was a lump behind her left ear. Several doctors reviewed the scan and they were sure this was negative. Nonetheless she underwent a biopsy, and low and behold it was positive for metastatic breast cancer to the brain. Lynn says, "This was scary, as this was my head we were dealing with here!" She underwent several rounds of radiation, scan after scan after scan and still taking oral chemo. "It is now 2012, and I'm still kickin' and in remission!!!! God is awesome. I could not have done this without Him, and my family. They were and are a true blessing I believe we are closer now than we ever have been."
Lynn continues, "I have always been active with cancer support, just behind the scene. I have never been the type to speak to a crowd but recently a friend asked me to share my story. I did and there was such a response it brought tears to my eyes, maybe this is what I'm supposed to be doing". She is inspired by the amount of people that support Komen Coastal Georgia, particularly at their largest fundraiser and awareness event, the Savannah Race for the Cure. "The energy that I feel from the survivors and the crowd is an awesome experience. The research that is being done has changed since my first diagnosis and I believe Komen plays a big part in this. I rallied to get walkers and for the past two years I was able to complete the race without assistance, this was a personal mile stone for me."
Lynn urges women to know what their breasts should look and feel like and recommends regular self-breast exams. She is also an advocate for encouraging women to stay current with their mammograms. "I was lucky, I had insurance and my mammogram was covered." She recognizes that she was lucky enough to have insurance to pay for her services, and she is thankful that are programs in this community that provide services to those who cannot otherwise afford it. She encourages women who do not have insurance to contact Komen or ask their physician for recommendations.
She says, "See your doctor regularly, take care of your body… it's a gift and celebrate every day!"