Connie Edney's decision to go through with what she thought was an inconvenient doctor's appointment ended up changing her life.
Here's Connie's story below, in her own words:
"In late 2007 I almost skipped the appointment that saved my life. I had just started a new job, and didn’t want to take a few hours off to get my scheduled mammogram. My husband actually had to convince me to go. A few days after the mammogram, I received a call from my doctor’s office…the scan showed abnormalities. I went back for another mammogram and an ultrasound where doctors found two suspicious spots. The spots were biopsied and I nervously awaited the results. What a way to spend the holidays.
I received the call I was dreading a couple days later…I had breast cancer. I cried for the next two days. My diagnosis was “invasive ductal carcinoma, hormone positive,” one of the most common types of invasive breast cancers. Over the next few weeks I had a ct, bone scan, and numerous blood tests. The cancer was stage 2 and hadn’t spread. The fact that it hadn’t spread was a Christmas blessing I’ll never forget.
I was scheduled for surgery January 24, 2007. I decided on a double mastectomy because I wanted to minimize the chance of a recurrence. It was a good decision; in the short time between diagnosis and surgery, the cancer had spread to a third spot and to a lymph node. If my husband hadn’t insisted I get a mammogram on time, it could have been much worse. His persistence saved my life.
Six weeks after surgery I started six rounds of chemotherapy with Jeff Edenfield, M.D., one round every three weeks. I couldn’t have asked for a better oncologist. Dr. Edenfield and the staff at Greenville Health System (GHS) were so kind and encouraging. Every time I received chemo at the Cancer Center of Greenville Health System I felt like I had a whole team of cheerleaders behind me. Every one of them really cared and were pulling for me to beat this awful disease.
I started losing my hair after the very first chemo treatment. Emotionally, that was one of the most difficult times for me. I was losing my hair, I had been through a double mastectomy – I hardly felt like a human being, let alone a woman. My husband suggested that we cut off what hair was left to spare me from having to watch it fall out over the next few weeks. It was a gesture of kindness from him that I really needed, and I let him cut my hair.
When chemo ended, I started a drug to reduce my estrogen levels and hopefully prevent a cancer recurrence. The new drugs caused a lot of joint and muscle pain, and I was constantly tired from the lasting effects of chemotherapy, so I became very depressed. Even with a supportive family I felt alone. My prayers were answered when, on a follow up visit to the GHS Cancer Institute, I saw a sign for a breast cancer support group. The support group filled my need to be around people who had the same challenges, and we really uplifted each other. I still attend to help others through their cancer journey as I was helped.
My journey with cancer has been long and painful, but I’m finally able to put it behind me and live my life again. Last year I had reconstructive surgery which went a long way toward helping me feel whole again. Now that I’ve won my cancer battle, I want to give my all to help others fighting the disease.
Cancer doesn’t stand still. It will somehow affect everyone in our community. Join me now in helping GHS change, and save, lives."
If you'd like more information on supporting cancer patients and families, contact Philanthropy & Partnership Director of Cancer Services Jim Kaltenbach at (864) 797-7734 or email@example.com.