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Thelma's Cancer Journey

Thelma and her husband were diagnosed with cancer at the same time - they got through the storm together and are now both in remission.

Thelma, age 64 from Kansas City, Missouri was diagnosed with Stage II triple-positive breast cancer in 2014. During her chemotherapy treatments, her husband Michael was diagnosed with lymphoma and renal failure and her mother passed away. During this difficult time in her life, she relied on her faith. “Instead of asking ‘why me?’ I continued to ask for peace, strength and understanding,” she says.

Thelma did indeed weather the storm and now, both she and her husband are in remission.

A week after being diagnosed with breast cancer following results from a mammogram, Thelma had a biopsy and visited her collaborative Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Centerpoint Medical Center care team, accompanied by nurse navigator. Surgeon Christie Brock, D.O., set a treatment plan, and then Thelma met with medical oncologist/hematologist Arruna Rokkam, M.D. and radiation oncologist Kenon Qamar, M.D.

“You need a committed healthcare team when storm clouds gather on the horizon.”

Following surgery in May 2014, Thelma embarked on a year-long chemo protocol, supplemented by 22 radiation treatments. During this time, her husband, Michael, was diagnosed with lymphoma and renal failure.

“He lost his appetite and weight and just didn’t feel right,” she recalls, “all while supporting me, coming to appointments and caring for me when I wasn’t feeling well.”

Thelma and her husband reeled from the unexpected news, admitting it was “even more devastating than when I initially received my cancer diagnosis.” Thelma’s sister and church family rallied while she and Michael went through chemotherapy simultaneously and shared their story with others.

“It was a rough journey,” Thelma admits. “My mother also passed while we were undergoing treatments and Michael was required to start dialysis.”

Now, two years following her diagnosis, Thelma is visiting Dr. Rokkam every three months and has a mammogram twice a year. Her husband is also in remission.

“I couldn’t have gotten through the storm without my Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Centerpoint Medical Center family. Cyn McArdle, RN, my breast cancer nurse navigator and fellow breast cancer survivor, is remarkable and so are my physicians, who I now call my family and friends.”

Discover Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Midwest Health