Patsy James had just celebrated her 74th birthday when the doctor called to tell her the news. She heard the words no one wants to hear. “It’s cancer.”
“I thought to myself, ‘Well, this a heck of a birthday present,” remembered Patsy. “I was diagnosed on Oct. 17, 2016. They called me the day after my birthday at work to tell me.”
Now, five years later, Patsy is ready to celebrate her upcoming 79th birthday completely cancer-free. She credits her survival and recovery to an early diagnosis made possible by Morgan Medical Center’s 3D Mammography technology.
“That year, the hospital had just begun offering the 3D mammograms,” said Patsy. “I always went every year to get my mammogram but this was the first year I had the 3D mammogram done. And that’s how they found it, when the cancer was very early on.”
Due to the early detection, Patsy did not have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation for treatment.
“I was one of the lucky ones,” said Patsy.
After biopsies and more mammograms, Patsy underwent a partial mastectomy. Another cancerous spot was found on her left breast, and she underwent a double mastectomy in 2017 to prevent any further chance of breast cancer from developing. Then, earlier this year, Patsy noticed a strange knot on her chest. She mentioned it during a doctor’s visit, and further tests found the very early signs of lung cancer.
“I was thinking to myself as they were doing the scan that I shouldn’t have said anything, that I didn’t need to go through the trouble of all the tests, but then the surgeon said to me, it literally saved my life,” said Patsy. Patsy had another surgery to remove the small cancerous section of her lung and now goes every four months to be checked.
During her multiple surgeries and recovery, Patsy had the loving support of family, friends and coworkers. Patsy has worked as an agent for Jim Boyd & Associates in Madison for 20 years. Patsy’s daughters Kim Mitchell and Ashlan James, as well as her granddaughter, Alexis Rhodes, stood by her throughout her entire treatment plan.
Due to Patsy’s proactive choices in regards to her health, she is now enjoying life to the fullest, cancer-free, able to spend time with her loved ones, including her first great granddaughter, Charlotte Rhodes.
“I feel grateful. I feel lucky. I feel blessed,” said Patsy. “Go get your mammograms. Every year. On time. If you find a knot, a lump or bump, get it checked right away.