She will Survive
By: Brandi Spear, daughter of Rhonda Badgett
The month was November, and that meant that annual mammogram time for my mother. With three new grandbabies, life was extremely exciting, and she hated to miss even a minute. So canceling the first mammogram appointment and rescheduling eleven days later did seem like a good idea at the time. Why not? She did not have cancer in her family and no signs of any lumps or bumps. Eleven days passed and she went in for her scheduled appointment, with a smile. Four hours later she left with a parking pass for day surgery at Seton Hospital; a lumpectomy on her breast was scheduled for the following day. After completing the lumpectomy on her breast, the Friday before Thanksgiving, and arriving home she received a call from her one hour after coming home.
She left the laughter-filled room of her family to hear her doctor and came back a few minutes later in tears. As it turns out, my mom was one out of eight American women to find out they had breast cancer. As my mom shared the news, the entire family was shocked and speechless. It was as if someone had taken all of my available air supply and thrown it miles away so that I may never reach it again. My heart fell to the floor. How could this be? We said to ourselves, no one in our family has ever had cancer and she did not feel any lumps or bumps.
My mom had stage four breast cancer, which required a radical mastectomy. Eleven and a half months of chemotherapy and 48 treatments of radiation were to follow. The doctor said if they had detected it two months later nothing could have been done. Being one in eight my courageous mom realized the major importance of early detection, the truths and myths about breast cancer, and how using the available procedures today saved her life!
I can’t put into words the gratitude I feel when I think of the dedicated doctors, pathology department, and the wonderful staff at Texas Oncology.
My mother, Rhonda K. is the center of our family tree and always will be.
She Did Survive
By: Rhonda K. Badgett
My name is Rhonda K Badgett, and my journey has been scary, awesome and I am so full of gratitude.
By the grace of my God I never asked “why me”, I just had an innate feeling that I would survive. My Doctor (the wonderful Dr. McFarland) told me that I had some options for treatments, I could go with a lumpectomy (which he DID NOT recommend), or radical mastectomy with 8 to 9 months of chemotherapy and radiation. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hormone receptive breast cancer. When the first surgery was done both breast were removed as well as 23 lymph nodes.
At the time my daughter was finishing a degree in elementary education. As an aside this child of mine is very accepting of life, and easy going. However in her theology class she asked her professor “WHY MY MOM?” The professor said “Why not your mom? God evidently knows she can accept this and gracefully go through the journey, BUT most important, for you (her daughter) God knows that you can walk with her with grace, love and fearlessly.” This discussion with her professor was such a blessing for my daughter (Brandi Spear), as she was with me for every chemotherapy infusion and radiation treatment. My youngest son was very afraid, as he was a momma’s boy, and he was only 16 years old, but he just watched his sister and me, and sensed that we knew I would survive.
I was working at a high pressure job (which I loved) at the time of my diagnosis. I was so blessed to have a supportive staff, management team, and a wonderful administrator. I was very clear that I could not STOP working because I needed to stay as busy and not focus only on the treatments and how I felt, and when my team realized I was not going to take time off, they put a cot in my office, (AWE!!). I was totally okay with not having any hair, but I worked with the elderly, and the “no hair” thing frightened them, (one sweet little 95 years old lady asked, “Is your head sick?) I learned how to make crochet hats, in many colors and wore them every day.
I was diagnosed November 14, 2006. Today I have retired from my corporate gig….I am having a blast, and have such peace and serenity and feel so VERY blessed. God had many more things that he wanted me to do and be.
Today I volunteer at infusion rooms…I go with a smile on my face, I dress up in my funky style (I wore suits in the Corporate gig) and just have fun, and spread as much hope and love as I can.
“My message is you Will and Can Survive!!!!” – Rhonda Badgett
Some of the FUN things I do now: Volunteer for the awesome Susan G Komen® (and have a blast). I have never missed a Race for the Cure, and neither have my children and grandchildren. I worked at the YMCA and had so much FUN! I have 4 grandchildren that always make me laugh and I have an excuse to just have fun…we LOVE to go to Schlitterbahn, Hawaiian Falls, jump at the trampolines and so much more. The 2 oldest grandsons play baseball, and I really do not ever want to miss games. I do English dancing, yoga, interact with a beautiful fellowship, walk the trails with my sweet dog, Gibson. I have the opportunity to volunteer at the school my daughter teaches at, and I was named Volunteer of the year. I am teaching myself to make a quilt, and I was able to make an afghan for all 4 of my grandchildren this past summer. I have such a BIG life. However I am not bragging when I say all of the things I do…I mention it because I SURVIVED and so can you!!!!!