Whirlwind and Scary
Patricia Carter – July Survivor of the Month
"Thank God for mammograms", says Patricia Carter, our July Survivor of the Month. "I had mine and that's how my cancer was found". Patricia remembers that the cancer was deep in her breast, and she could not feel it. She states that she would never have known it was there if the mammogram had not caught it.
Once the breast cancer was detected, she said she felt like she was in a Whirlwind. "It seemed like no one was in a hurry but me," she said. She waited anxiously as further testing was done, and when she finally met with the surgeon for a mastectomy 3 weeks later, it had actually grown. She is very thankful for her wonderful team, including her surgeon and oncologist. "They really care for their patients", she said.
After the surgery, she was told that she would have to undergo 20 weeks of chemotherapy. "I didn't know what was coming." She had thought once the surgery was performed, her cancer would be gone and that no more treatment was necessary. But, her family and friends made a wonderful support system for her and helped her get through it. Losing her hair was "tough", but she used it as a chance to tell people about her story. She used her story as a platform to educate other women about the importance of mammograms and early detection.
Breast cancer education is very important to Patricia. She strongly feels more women and men need to be educated on the importance of early detection. She is passionate about encouraging businesses to provide education to their employees. Furthermore, she is hopeful that government will not change guidelines for mammograms and other breast health screenings.
When asked what message she would give to others in her community about breast cancer she says, "Have your mammograms! It is so important". She also reminds women that just because you don't have breast cancer in your family does not mean you cannot get it. The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is simply being a woman and getting older.
Every month, she reflects about how fortunate she is to be alive. Patricia is celebrating 5 years cancer free!