Nona's Story

“My name is Nona and this is my Survivor Story.

My breast cancer story started with a car accident. A distracted driver ran a stop sign which caused the accident. After being transported to the hospital, I was released home with a lot of bumps and bruising. I had some seat belt trauma and pain that I thought would just take time to heal…so I thought.

After about a month, I could still feel the pain and lump in my right breast, but again just thought it was taking longer than expected to heal from the accident. I decided to hold off to have my annual mammogram since I was still feeling some discomfort.

After I had the mammogram procedure my family physician office called and said the doctor wanted me to come in to discuss the results of the test. I knew this wasn’t a good sign. If it was normal they would not need to see me. I kept thinking there had to be a mistake. I don’t smoke or have a history of cancer in my family. I was in total shock when the doctor told me he would like to refer me to a physician in Columbus who specializes in cancer.

Still in denial, I thought what a waste of time and money, but being a ‘good patient’ I would follow my doctor’s orders. To make a long story short, I ended up having a biopsy and ultimately surgery and was diagnosed with early stage 3 breast cancer. With the removal of the lump and the surrounding lymph node, chemo and radiation followed. Chemo, radiation treatments and injections for nausea were very stressful, but the loss of my hair was traumatizing.

My granddaughter made me a sign to put in my kitchen during treatment so I could see it every day, which really helped a lot. It said, ‘You really don't know how strong you can be, until being strong is your only option.’ It was a long and stressful year with all of the treatments and follow-up appointments, but when I felt like giving up or I was tired of fighting, I would read my granddaughter’s sign. If roles were reversed, I would want my family to fight and never give up.

Four years later, I remain cancer free. Blessed by the care given to me by all and the many prayers (even the surgeon in Columbus prayed for me just before they took me back for surgery) and support of my family and friends. I could not have done it without them. I encourage all women to get regular mammograms. You don't have to have a history of cancer in your family to get one. Follow-up with your physician if you have any concerns. May God Bless.”

Nona is a Triage Tech in the Emergency Department at Wilson Health. She has been with Wilson for over 30 years.