Trip of a Lifetime Nearly Sidelined by Breast Cancer
Kay Netta Allen, 65, and her husband talked about going on a cruise for years. Aside from trips to Branson, Mo., and other road trips, the couple had never taken a “big trip.” The Allens, who have been married for 47 years, had spent nearly two years planning and saving when Kay Netta received a reminder for her annual mammogram. Realizing she had accidently skipped a year, she knew she needed to schedule her mammogram before leaving for the Alaskan cruise. The appointment was set for the month prior to their departure.
Kay Netta arrived at Bailey Medical Center for her mammogram, as she had done several times. She was happy to see a familiar face, as mammogram tech Becky Wilkins called her name. They proceeded to the mammography room and began the scan. Everything went along as Kay Netta anticipated – until she noticed something different about Becky. “I saw the look on her face,” Kay Netta recalls. “She said, `Don’t panic.’”
Becky had discovered a lump.
It certainly was not what Key Netta was expecting at the time, but with a family history of breast cancer and other cancers, she had been vigilant about health screenings from an early age. “I had my first mammogram in my late 20s,” she explains. “When I was 9, my aunt had breast cancer and a double mastectomy.”
Plans for their dream trip halted abruptly in that moment. Kay Netta says Becky took the scan to a radiologist for review. Following an ultrasound, she was referred to a breast surgeon. A biopsy confirmed the breast cancer, and a lumpectomy was recommended.
Throughout the process, Kay Netta relied on the people around her, not only for medical expertise but for emotional support as well. “If it hadn’t been for Becky, it would have been worse,” she says. “She just has a real calming spirit – very compassionate.”
Her medical team agreed the lumpectomy could wait until after the trip. Kay Netta and her husband decided it was the right choice as well and boarded the plane for Alaska. The trip not only helped take her mind off the breast cancer, it gave them the experience they had been so patiently anticipating for years. “We had a ball!” she recalls.
On May 17, 2012, Kay Netta had the lumpectomy, followed by four rounds of chemotherapy in June and 33 rounds of radiation. By October, her treatment was complete and she was told her chances of breast cancer returning were around 2 percent. “It was hard, but because of the people around me, it hasn’t been horrible,” she explains.
Kay Netta has returned to Bailey Medical Center for two more mammograms since her lumpectomy in 2012 and will continue to do so every six months for the next few years. “The people are really nice, friendly and the hospital is super clean,” she adds. “I would recommend Bailey to anyone.”