Survivor Stories 2014:
1. How did you first find out you had cancer?
In August of 2005, my yearly mammogram report came back reading “SUSPICIOUS.” Shortly after, a stereotactic biopsy was attempted, but, the suspected calcifications were so minute, they were like “particles of dust” at that point. I was asked to wait six months, and repeat the biopsy. In March of 2006, I was told I had Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, in my left breast.
2. How did you react when you first heard the news?
I was in shock, I was taking care of my terminally ill husband, and there was no time to worry about myself. That turned out to be the blessing in my fight against this potential “death threat” that was just laid at my feet.
3. What course of treatment were you prescribed?
I had surgery one week later. My margins came back clear, however, the pathology report indicated that I needed to undergo 28 treatments of radiation to completely eradicate any possible threat. I had my full 28 treatments. I went for my mammogram and I discharged orange liquid. It was found that I had a staph infection. After an ultrasound, there appeared to be a mass. I endured radiology tests to determine the nature of what was happening. My surgeon had to operate on me in October, and removed a “golf ball size” mass of necrotic tissue. The radiation had been a little too much for me. I recovered, and I took Tamoxifen for 5 years.
4. What most surprised you about your treatment?
I believe that I was most surprised at how quickly the treatment seemed to go. Everyone was so caring and knowledgeable. Praise God for all of the doctors who immediately figured out how to go about treating me.
5. What would be your advice be to anyone who’s just Received a cancer diagnosis?
Trust in God, He will guide you through it all. Rely on your doctor and ask questions if you don’t understand something about your treatment. Have faith that you will survive this.
6. How long have you been cancer free?
Over 8 years.
7. What lessons did you learn from the experience?
I learned to rely on God, and not to focus on myself. I know that each day is a gift. I pray for strength and healing for anyone who may be going through this struggle right now. You are not alone in your fight! We are all praying for you!
8. If you could send one message to all the Good Enough
Mothers out there — what would it be? Never give up! Always know that God is there with you. Your fellow “survivors” are praying for you and right by your side.
Donna Thorpe is a native Californian. She was adopted at birth. Her loving parents raised her just outside of Los Angeles. Donna and her husband, Paul, are newlyweds, residing in Redlands, California.
Donna is the author of a collection of inspirational poems entitled, From Darkness To Light. In her book, she has included a poem titled God Brought Me Through, which highlights her struggle with breast cancer. Her deep faith in God, to whom she attributes her strength and ability to fight through her surgeries, radiation, working part-time, and caring for a terminally ill husband. Donna has two married children, a daughter, living in Katy, Texas, and a married son, living in Fontana, California. Donna also raised four daughters with her late husband. Together, all her grandchildren total thirteen. Donna is now also gifted with nine great-grandchildren.
Donna is active in her congregation at the Glen Avon Church of Christ, in Riverside, California. She and her husband, Paul, assist in hosting a monthly breakfast to feed those in need, in the surrounding community. They also drive brothers and sisters, who are disabled, to and from Bible Classes, and worship services. Donna is currently working on her second book.