In 1951, I was 31 years old with a three-year-old son, two-year-old daughter, 15-year-old step-daughter and a loving, understanding husband. I found a lump in my right breast the size of a walnut and went to our family doctor.
In those days, the mentality was “wait and see.” But not Dr. Morris—he performed a biopsy and sent the specimen to Little Rock. Three days later he said, “You have advanced stage breast cancer and need immediate surgery.” I had a radical mastectomy, which included all the breast, chest muscles and lymph nodes.
For weeks after the surgery, I went in for x-ray treatments. These were not the radiation treatments of today; they were done with the same machines used for diagnostic x-rays. After such severe surgery, it was a long up-hill battle. I survived and, for years afterward, Dr. Morris sent me to talk to new mastectomy patients for inspiration.
I was a teacher for 20 years, retired and had another 23-year career as a bookkeeper in my husband and son’s business. In 1998, at age 78, I was diagnosed with a new cancer, non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After eight months of chemotherapy and radiation, I was in remission again. I am now 87 years old and a 56-year breast cancer SURVIVOR!