A tough journey through breast cancer treatment has helped one local woman be a friend to lean on for other other women stricken with the disease.
Marsha Elliott was diagnosed in November 2009 at Pattie A. Clay Regional Medical Center following a routine mammogram. After her exam showed a suspicious shape, she had an ultrasound and a biopsy of a small tumor the size of a navy bean in her breast. The biopsy’s result was inconclusive, so she opted to have a lumpectomy to remove the mass
At her next doctor’s appointment, she quickly realized things hadn’t gone well.
“I could tell from his face something was wrong,” Elliott said.
She was no stranger to breast cancer because her mother had been diagnosed with the disease just five months before. Her mother went through a double mastectomy and other treatments.
In early January, Elliott started her chemotherapy. She had a round every three weeks, which ended in March 2010. Next, she had a radiation treatment every day for a total of 38 rounds until the end of May.
“I was blessed that I was never sick for one moment,” Elliott said, adding she did sometimes feel tired and worked to take care of herself.
Her husband, Joe, and her children – two boys who were 10 and 12 at the time – also were major sources of strength as were her family and friends.
Elliott is the technology and communications manager at First Baptist Church on the Eastern Bypass. She kept herself busy during her treatments with child rearing and her job, which she missed for only half a day while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
Elliott’s cancer is now in remission, but she has checkups every three to four months with her doctors. This will continue for another two years.
Elliott said being diagnosed with cancer at 44 gave her a younger person’s perspective on managing the illness along with raising children and pursuing a career. This has movtivated her to reach out to women in their 30s and 40s who also are experiencing similar challenges, including several of her friends who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I was going through it to help someone else,” Elliott said. “... It helps when you have someone your own age to talk to. I walked it before them so I could help them.”
Elliott credits the Madison County Breast Cancer Support Group for helping her get through those first few years of life after diagnosis. She doesn’t attend it meetings as regularly now because of her family and work responsibilities, but she encourages other women to attend the group for support.
For more information about the support group, call Arlayne Francis at 623-4601.
Surviving cancer has definitely changed Elliott’s outlook on life.
“You don’t take a day for granted,” Elliott said. “You look at things differently when (the doctors) walk in and tell you that you have cancer.”
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6694.
- Lifestyles & Community
It’s egg party time
I love this time of the year because eggs really do go down in price during the Easter season. I have some new recipes on how to fix eggs besides the coloring part.
Where’s the beef?
Today, the American consumer has more money to spend on the widest variety of foods than at any other time in our history.
Easter bunny's ‛eggbeater’ will fly eggs to Richmond
Who knew the Easter bunny could fly?
Skeptics can come to the Easter Eggstravaganza in Richmond’s Irvine-McDowell Park on Saturday to see for themselves. However, the bunny still doesn’t fly in bad weather. But on Monday, temperatures in the 60s with partly cloudy skies were predicted for Saturday.
We old folks have unique experiences
A friend sent this to me by e-mail, and I thought my readers would enjoy it.
Hope’s Wings volunteers need your help today
Help a local resident “get out of jail,” and in turn help men, women and children break the cycle of domestic violence in Madison and surrounding counties.
Bereans named Foster Parents of Year, Outstanding Adoptive Parent
Stephanie and Doug Gillum of Berea will be honored as Foster Parents of the Year tonight during an appreciation reception at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Puppet parade planned Saturday in Berea
The city of Berea will be celebrating Puppets in the Park on Saturday as part of the National Day of Puppetry.
Animal group seeks volunteers to assist with spay/neuter clinic
The Madison County Humane Society/Animal League for Life is reaching out to the community for help with its low-cost spay and neuter clinic.
The clinic, which operates at the HS/ALL adoption center at 128-C Big Hill Avenue, has spayed or neutered more than 2,000 dogs and cats since it opened in July 2012, according to volunteer Lynn Grove.
State funding to help keep domestic violence shelter open
Money for Madison County domestic violence intervention in the recently passed $20 billion state budget will be used to keep the Hope’s Wings shelter open.
The budget bill now awaits the governor’s signature.
Pets of the Week
This week's cat is Jett, a neutered and front declawed 5-year-old male.
This week's dog is Ace, a 2-year-old male Chihuahua mix.
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