MILLEDGEVILLE — Gail Spivey always felt blessed her entire life to have such a loving family, supportive friends and good health, but In 2010, Spivey’s world nearly halted when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 69. Although life-altering and life-threatening, “cancer did not overcome me.”
“Cancer can happen to anyone, so why not me? As a believer and lifelong Christian, I knew that whatever happened as I was faced with surgery and treatment choices, God was in control and I am His child; it was going to be all right,” she said. “I feared cancer, but I took it as it came with the reassurance that my diagnosis was very early on. It was a turning point in my life. I became aware that I was subject to things that everybody experiences. I was, and still am, surrounded by encouragement and knowledge, so I’m able to face challenges in life.”
After reaching menopause in her early 50s, Spivey decided to use hormone replacement therapy to help eliminate her headaches and night sweats.
“I chose hormone treatment for over 20 years. My cancer was an estrogen-driven cancer. Fortunately due to wonderful medical treatment, excellent health facilities and a good -diagnostic x-ray, that’s why my cancer was found,” she said. “I had regular mammograms and OBGYN check-ups. In 2010 I was called back for a repeat mammogram. It was confirmed that I did have breast cancer, so that was followed by a biopsy, which confirmed the diagnosis.”
Spivey underwent a lumpectomy, which removed only a portion of the breast unlike a mastectomy, and six weeks of radiation treatment along with taking oral medication.
“Being a redhead with very fair skin, I blistered from the radiation, but it took care of the disease. We’re very fortunate that when I did the mammogram, it was in the very early stages,” she said. “To face a devastating diagnosis alone would be much more difficult with the impact that it has on someone’s life. When word got out that I was diagnosed, I received so many flowers, letters and visits to encourage me and let me know that they support me; that really fed my soul, and for that I am forever grateful to them.”