Hometown Hero: Yvonne Warbing

Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 7:45 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Fighting cancer is both physical and psychological.

“I was the manager. I was the organizer. I was the one that was in control and had to take care of everyone and make sure everything got done.”

The unexpected switch from running the medical staff at Memorial Health to being a patient there was as hard on Yvonne Warbington’s mind as cancer was on her body.

“The hardest thing was letting people help me. You can see where I live, I’m very independent. It was very hard to let someone cut my grass. It was very hard to let people come in and clean house,” Yvonne Warbington said.

But two weeks into her eight-month breast cancer battle, Warbington realized relying on others would be the key to making it through.

“After the second treatment, I got to where I couldn’t even drive. I was so weak. I worked from home, but I was very sick ... once you get that diagnosis, you go blind. It’s not just cancer, you just can’t hear anything anyone says ... the things you can control, do, and those you can’t, let someone else help you.

Warbington had a friend attend her doctor appointment and take notes. She let another set up a get-together to meet cancer head-on.

“I didn’t know the others were showing up with sparkling water and strawberries and we had a head-shaving party. And that was something I could control. The rest of it was out of my control.

That included her reaction to treatments that included 6 rounds of aggressive chemo, surgery and 21 days of radiation.

“I had been told that a friend of a friend had her treatments on Friday and went back to work on Monday. So, that was my plan. that was how things were going to work out for me. And that is not how things worked out for me at all and I thought it was something wrong with me. And I want people to realize, it’s not you. It’s your treatments or whatever that are going to make you better, but in the meantime, you may not be that person who can have the treatment on Friday and go back to work on Monday.”

Five years into remission and now retired to her property down a dirt road in Rincon, is healthy. And so is her attitude about not going in to the office.

“Great. Really good. Since being retired and people ask me about it, I try not to get too giddy, because it’s nice. I really enjoyed it.”