After giving birth to her daughter, Lynda Hood was focused on the future of motherhood. But shortly after a normal checkup for her 14-month-old little girl, Lynda recognized that she wasn’t feeling quite right herself. Upon a regular breast self-exam, she found a lump.
Her breast cancer had progressed to stage four, spreading beyond just her breasts. The news was more than devastating, especially at such an exciting time in her life. Stage four breast cancer carries a low survival rate — and only a 22% chance that women diagnosed with such advanced cancer will live more than five years. Despite the odds, Lynda found it in herself to stay positive. She was going to beat this.
Lynda put her trust in the doctors at Erlanger Health System for treatment. She underwent a full mastectomy as well as a tram flap procedure to rebuild a portion of muscle tissue in her chest. In addition to her surgeries, Lynda received chemotherapy to help ensure the cancer was eradicated. “The hardest part was losing my hair,” Lynda said. Her hair loss was a constant reminder of the disease she was fighting so hard to overcome.
In an attempt to take her mind off her illness, Lynda returned to work as soon as possible. “We were moving between offices at the time, but it helped. Nights were the most difficult. Lying awake with your thoughts can make you crazy, but my husband Michael was my rock through that time. I always encourage women going through this to find someone to talk to in their downtime.”
Lynda is now celebrating her nineteenth year of being cancer free — and couldn’t be happier about it. “My glass was always half full, but now it’s overflowing. I can’t tell you how much Erlanger has meant to me. The doctors there have such compassion. To this day, everyone — from nurses to the receptionists to the guys at the valet — still remember me and ask how I’m doing. They really care.”
Though not always possible, early detection of breast cancer can dramatically increase your chance of survival.
If you are at high risk for breast cancer, be sure to:
- Perform a monthly breast self-exam
- Have a yearly breast exam performed by a doctor, NP, or PA
- Schedule an annual mammogram
To contact us or make an appointment with a specialist, call 423-778-8999.