Breast Cancer Survivor
“I did what I wish my mother could have done. I had a bilateral mastectomy,” says Marcia Keith. “Back then, they never took a healthy breast, though that might have kept cancer from coming back.” Marcia mother’s battle with breast cancer inspired Marcia to become the first in her family to choose a health care career, but in 2007, radiologists detected microcalcifications, a warning sign for cancer, in one her breasts during her annual digital mammography. Suddenly, Marcia, a radiologic technologist at Methodist Jennie Edmundson, ceased being a health care professional and became a patient. She remembers thinking, “I’m 39. I’m not old enough to have breast cancer.”
Because Marcia knew Jennie Edmundson Hospital so well, she knew about a vital step in the decision making and treatment-planning process available there. Marcia knew her case would be thoroughly studied and discussed by a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists and other health care professionals at Jennie Edmundson’s weekly breast cancer conference. “Our Breast Health Center is a phenomenal concept that every hospital should have,” Marcia said. “You don’t have to travel to different physician offices. Physicians come here to see you, and you have easy access to information and specially trained nurses. It’s one-stop shopping, with everything you need within four walls.”
Marcia had an overnight stay after her surgery, recuperated at home and was back to work in four weeks. Because Marcia’s cancer had been caught so early, before it could develop or spread outside the breast, she did not have to undergo radiation or chemotherapy as her mother had. Today Marcia is healthy and strong. She seizes each day with enthusiasm, enjoying her work, family, friends, pet Yorkshire Terriers, travel and golf — especially golf.
Marcia organized an annual golf fun day, at Shoreline Golf Course at Carter Lake, to raise money for the American Cancer Society. “We started by getting involved in the Mills County Relay for Life while my mom was alive,” Marcia explained. Over the years, the charity events sponsored by the Keith clan have included garage sales, bake sales, dances and auctions. They have raised tens of thousands of dollars to fight cancer, and Marcia said this is only the beginning.
Marcia celebrates every year of her cancer survivorship with her chin up, knowing every day is a new day.