Sometimes cancer provides no warning signs at all.
That was certainly the case for Debby Lonsberry.
“I went in for a regular mammogram in January of 2018, and they found an area they wanted to look at again,” said Lonsberry.
After doctors took that second look, they told Lonsberry that she had breast cancer.
Lonsberry said her cancer was discovered at just the right time, and that she was very lucky.
“I didn’t need to have any surgery,” said Lonsberry. “They just took one little place out. Then they found another little place and they removed that one, too.”
In addition, doctors only needed to remove three of Lonsberry’s lymph nodes.
Lonsberry underwent four rounds of chemotherapy and 30 rounds of radiation.
Here, too, Lonsberry said she was fortunate.
“I was never sick from the chemo, and I never had any side effects,” said Lonsberry. “After the first month of chemo I did lose all of my hair, but that was alright.”
Lonsberry received her treatment at the Koenig Cancer Center in Lake Saint Louis.
“I had great doctors and nurses,” said Lonsberry. “It was amazing, and Dr. Vaughn was awesome.”
Lonsberry said she enjoyed tremendous support from her family and friends.
“My husband Les was amazing,” said Lonsberry. “So were my daughters, Stacy and Shanna, as well as my mom and my sister.”
Lonsberry finished radiation treatments in September of 2018, and she is now free of her cancer, although she takes a hormone-blocking pill, and will continue to do so for the next five to ten years.
Regardless, Lonsberry said she views herself as a very lucky person.
“I’m the first person in my family to have breast cancer,” said Lonsberry. “It was a complete shock, but I’m grateful every day that it wasn’t worse. It certainly could have been.”
Lonsberry said her battle with cancer was a very earth-shattering re-establishment of what is really important in life.
“It makes you appreciate the things you were taking for granted,” said Lonsberry. “It made me look at things a lot differently.”
Lonsberry added that the importance of regular mammograms can’t be overstated.
“Go every year for sure,” said Lonsberry. “That’s how they found mine. If they hadn’t, who knows where I would be now?”
Life is full of struggles, cancer and otherwise, and Lonsberry said she has developed a three-pronged philosophy toward those struggles.
“Be honest with those closest to you about how you really feel,” said Lonsberry. “Also, don’t try to think too far down the road. Tomorrow will take care of tomorrow. Finally, always remember that you are stronger than you think.”