It was a beautiful October day with cool temperatures and blue skies in 2008 when I received a phone call from my doctor’s nurse at The Woman’s Clinic. It was a call that would change my life. I heard her words but had a hard time letting them sink in. “Your recent mammogram,” she said, “shows some areas that need to be re-examined.” After scheduling another appointment, I told myself everything would be fine as my family had no history of breast cancer and I felt good, exercising regularly and eating properly. I thought at age 59 I was as healthy as I could possibly be.
But I was wrong. My mammogram and subsequent biopsy at the Center for Breast Health at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center resulted in the diagnosis of early stage breast cancer. I’ll always remember my doctor’s words to me after the diagnosis: “Joy, if you have to have cancer, this is the best kind you can have.” It was all because the cancer had been detected so very early! I am forever grateful for that routine mammogram and the team of medical professionals who diagnosed and treated me. I underwent surgery in November 2008 and have received positive mammograms and screenings for the past six years. That experience not only changed me and my perspective on life but also taught me to appreciate every day God gives me and to take nothing for granted.
On this past Sunday—yet another beautiful October day—I participated with about 60 others in a fun-filled, two-hour Zumbathon at the Madison Healthplex Performance Center in support of fund for the girls. It was a great workout and is certainly a great cause.
Hopefully, others will learn from my experience about the importance of yearly mammograms. I applaud Baptist Health Systems for its outstanding work with fund for the girls, which is a wonderful resource for all Mississippi women but particularly for those who may not be able to afford mammograms.
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