We all must continue efforts to beat cancer

Published 8:46 pm Friday, October 7, 2016

There are some phone calls that you will remember for a lifetime. One of mine came a few years back. It was from my doctor. I had recently been in for my annual check up and mammogram, and to hear her voice on the other end of the receiver was disconcerting. A doctor never calls the house with good news.

They had found an abnormality in one of my breasts, and I was going to need more screening.

She tried to convince me that she thought everything was going to be fine, but it did not help. She scheduled an appointment for me with a Dr. Phillip Ley in Jackson. He is an oncologist, which means CANCER doctor.

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When I showed up at his office, there was breast cancer “stuff” everywhere, pink ribbons, pink pens, pink everything. I felt like this was some kind of omen and that my breast was surely full of cancer.

At the time, I did not realize that October had been designated as breast cancer awareness month.

After another screening, Ley determined that in fact there was something in my right breast, and we had to get in there and biopsy it.

He said he was pretty sure it was nothing more than breast calcifications, which are typically benign, but until a biopsy was performed and specimens sent off, there was no guarantee.

I scheduled a follow-up appointment where hubby would also come along to hear the specifics of what I would need to know and expect from the surgical procedure. Good thing he was there since I knew I would probably be too nervous to remember anything Ley would say.

A biopsy was then scheduled along with all the things that go with having a surgery.

On the day of the procedure before I was to go under the knife, needles were inserted into my right breast to aid in locating the calcifications, and I might add there was no anesthesia administered.

Men, you have no idea what we women go through. Fortunately, I was scared numb, I really did not feel anything!

The surgery went well, but of course there were no official outcomes. That would come days later, and for those that have ever had to wait for the results of a test, you can attest that it is the not knowing that is the worst.

For days before I heard back, my mind would only allow me to think of the worst possible scenarios. And the worry was so debilitating, I could not eat, and I would constantly hash, rehash and rehash some more with my husband about all the possible outcomes about what I would do if I had breast cancer.

I know I drove him crazy.

Finally, the call came, and I was in the clear. No breast cancer. The relief was overwhelming.

But there have been so many of my friends who unfortunately got another kind of report.

I do not know how they handled the initial news, but each and every one of them has been an inspiration to me — their fight, their attitudes, their wigs and scarves.

There have been many strides in the fight against breast cancer, but the war is not over.

We all must continue our efforts until no woman gets THAT call.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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