10 joys a day – a journey through breast cancer

IMG_4059 web.jpgAnn Hogue has a story familiar to thousands of women. In February, she noticed pain in her right breast that didn’t go away. After checking her left breast as well, she discovered a lump the size of a marble.

“I decided to see Dr. Angelia Martin with Northwest Medical Center clinic here in Albany,” says Ann. “She sent me to digital mammography, and when the results came back, they told me it was highly suspicious for malignancy.”

After having a biopsy in St. Joseph, the next day her malignancy diagnosis was confirmed. A lumpectomy was scheduled and results showed one lymph node tested positive as well. “It all happened so quickly after that,” says Ann. “I started chemotherapy on April 30 and had four treatments. Then I started radiation and just finished September 19, 2018.”

Through it all, Ann remains thankful she caught her cancer early. “Listen to your body, listen to what God is telling you,” says Ann. “I had always done my regular mammograms, but I wasn’t very diligent on self-exams. Mine was a fast-growing kind. If I hadn’t done a self-exam, it would have had significant consequences. I caught it early. It had just started going into the lymph nodes, so I’m so glad I did.”

The last few months have taught Ann to appreciate her family and friends, even more than she had before. “I found a renewed inner strength and joy,” says Ann. “My husband has been a good support system, and my friends and family were there for me every step of the way. People coordinated drivers for me to take me to and from my radiation treatments. That’s the beauty of living in a small town. It meant so much and made going to my treatment so much easier.”

An additional bonus was being close to home for Ann, who is an Albany native. She was able to receive her mammography at Northwest Medical Center and see her oncologist, Rony Abou-Jawde, MD at Mosaic Life Care Cancer Care in Maryville. “I loved the fact I was able to do all the testing here and see Dr. AJ in Maryville, so close to me. It made things so much easier.”

Now with the treatment complete, Ann looks back at what gave her strength during her battle. “Each day, I wrote 10 joys a day,” says Ann. “It came from Nehemiah 8:10, which says the joy of the Lord is my strength. So, each day I started looking where I could find my joy.”

Ann encourages all women to stay attentive to their bodies. “I want to remind everyone to take care of themselves,” she says. “Listen to your bodies and talk to your doctor.”