Support Our Survivors

October 2012

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2A I WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2012 SURVIVORS SUPPORT OUR * appreciation of family, friends and life in general. Each morning, I am thankful God has provided me one more day. I don't think I will ever take life for granted again." "Cancer has given me heightened Rodney Hendrickson Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma Survivor since Oct. 1, 2012 Dianne Painter Breast Survivor since 2000 "I was expecting to get cancer because my family has a history for the disease. I say to look forward, not backward." wrong, don't wait to see a doctor. My advice is to have regular checkups." detected during annual checkups. If you think something is "I've had two different kinds of cancer. Both of them were certifi ed medical assis- tant. A fi erce example of her determination to suc- ceed at any age, to be sure, but, before that, she endured breast cancer. Following surgery and treatment, Harris is now awaiting the "all is clear" from oncologists. "I had made up my mind once they told me it was cancer that I was go- ing to fi ght it with every- thing in me," Harris said. "I'll never forget when I went for my fi rst radia- tion treatment, the doctor asked how was I going to get to my treatments everyday, and I said, 'I'm going to drive.'" Her non-aggressive cancer P ansy Harris graduated college at 72 and started a new career as a The Sentinel-Echo I Pansy Harris - the determination of a lion Baptist Regional Medical Center and the Sentinel-Echo are proud to bring you a month-long series about our local cancer survivors. Follow the series on Wednesdays and Fridays in October. BY MAGEN MCCRAREY Staff writer PHOTO SUBMITTED Pansy Harris was surprised with a cake by family and friends following the completion of her cancer treatments. was found during a routine mammogram. A small, white tumor was buried deep inside of her breast tissue — so small that it took two mammograms to confi rm its presence. She had shown no symptoms, and the doctors have no answers as to what caused it — much like oth- ers who befall victim to cancer. "Unless you've got some vi- sual sign or some terrible pain, I don't know how you would know it's growing in you. They say we all have cancer cells, but not all of them mutate," Harris said. Larry VanHook Prostate & tumor Survivor since Feb. 2009 *A LAVENDER RIBBON BRINGS AWARENESS TO ALL CANCERS. brought forth determination to not let the cancer advance any further. She lost her mother to a rare form of adult leukemia and she also lost a friend to breast cancer. Harris never missed a day of work during her treat- Her family history of cancer you do what you have to do," she said. "I don't have any inhibi- tions anymore, you get used to it." The second time she under- ments which she attended early in the morning before heading off to work. The fi rst time she had surgery, she made do with the strength she had and headed to work again the next day. "It's scary at fi rst, but then ments, she received a shocking report from her physician. "I'm sorry, but your tumor Five years after her treat- went surgery, her grandson went with her for support. Because of the subject matter, the doctor wouldn't let him go inside the exam room with Har- ris, so he patiently sat outside — with his ear glued to the door, listening. The outpour from car- ing family and concerned com- munity members began to grow and overwhelm Harris with joy. "Every week, I got a card from somebody, people I didn't even know. I even got phone calls from people in other states that had experience with it (cancer)," she said. "It was amazing." marker's up," she recalled. A tumor marker is a sub- stance found in the body during routine tests indicating that cancer is present. It is enough to worry Harris, but her mind hasn't changed about having the determination of a lion if her doctor calls back with news she needs another round of treat- ment. cards hangs on her refrigerator door, and the message just about sums up her entire attitude about enduring cancer, she said. "The card reads, 'I've survived damn near everything,'" Harris said. "That's about the way I feel about it." "Maybe one of these days they One of Harris' past birthday will fi nd a cure for it, and fi nd out a cause," she said. MMCCRAREY@SENTINEL-ECHO.COM

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