“It’s a struggle, but it’s one that you face one day at a time. It’s a journey.”
That’s how Gail Powers described the last two years.
Powers was diagnosed with negative stage 3 breast cancer in 2017.
That’s a very rare form of breast cancer, and it’s also difficult to treat, due mainly to the fact that it isn’t hormonally-based.
Powers said she had been feeling just fine until about a week before she was diagnosed.
“It was just a sudden thing,” said Powers.
The tumor that was found in Powers’ left breast was a large one, and fighting it wasn’t easy.
Doctors decided to reduce the size of the tumor as much as possible with chemotherapy prior to surgery.
“I had my chemotherapy port put in on my birthday,” said Powers.
After that, Powers underwent chemotherapy once a week for approximately 16 weeks.
“It was draining and tiring, but God was with me during the whole trip,” said Powers. “I wasn’t alone at any time, and I had the comfort of knowing that God was with me. And of course my friends and family were all there and corralled around me.”
After Powers had undergone the chemotherapy phase, doctors performed surgery to remove her cancer.
“It turned out the cancer was more extensive than they thought,” said Powers. “They had to go in and do more surgery.”
By then it was 2018, and doctors had been forced to remove all of the lymph nodes on Powers’ left side.
Following her second surgery, Powers underwent more chemotherapy, and then began radiation treatments.
She continued to receive both forms of treatment for some time.
“That’s when I really struggled,” said Powers. “I had a total lack of energy, and they had to lower my chemo pills.”
Fortunately, Powers is now in remission and doesn’t have to put up with chemotherapy or radiation.
“Without the grace of God I wouldn’t have made it,” said Powers.
Powers said she was also fortunate to have the support and encouragement of her husband, Jim, as well as a top-notch medical team.
“SSM at Lake Saint Louis was awesome,” said Powers. “I really have to give a special shout out to Jeannie.”
Powers said she was very comfortable with the staff at SSM, and they seemed just like family.
“The doctors were great,” said Powers. “They answered all my questions.”
Powers said that her battle with cancer taught her an important lesson about letting people in.
“When you are a patient, or you are battling an illness, let your friends and family help as much as they want,” said Powers. “Don’t push them aside and try to handle everything yourself. Let them in, let them help you, and let them be supportive. They want to help. I wish I had let people in more than I did.”
When asked if she had any advice for those still undergoing treatment, Powers didn’t hesitate.
“Lean on your faith, and remember that bald is beautiful,” said Powers.