Wendy Story, a long-time employee of Magna Composites Lenoir, was going to skip her yearly physical, because like most of us, she dislikes going to the doctor. In order to keep her insurance rates down, she reluctantly scheduled her appointment. “I have to admit I was a little aggravated at first, because I really didn’t want to go.”
Wendy wasn’t worried when she was called into to have a second breast screening. “I knew several women that had to go for a second mammogram,” she says. But when she saw the look on her doctor’s face, she knew things were serious. She underwent a biopsy and was diagnosed with breast cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. The risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older, but forty-two year-old Wendy, whose family has no history with the disease, was shocked to learn of her diagnosis. “My husband was with me every step of the way… to lean on, cry on, and to pray for me.”
Women with cancer in one breast have a 3 to 4 fold increased risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast so Wendy bravely opted for a bilateral mastectomy, knowing she never wanted to experience the ordeal again. “When I went for my follow-up appointment at my oncologist, she asked if I was happy with my decision, and I said yes.” Wendy was then informed that cancer was found in the tissue of the second breast. Had she not opted for a bilateral procedure, she would have faced a second surgery.
Wendy gives God all the glory for her recovery and credits her family and friends for giving her strength and sending prayers. “Every day, multiple people would tell me that they were praying for me and I could feel it!” she says. “I have worked with the same people for a long time and they are just like my family, some of us grew up together, we have worked together since we were 18 years old. I cannot explain how blessed I feel to be a part of this group of people.”
“Sometimes I don’t feel like this has happened to me. It is like I am living someone else’s life.” Her unwavering faith got her through the scariest of moments, her favorite psalm always in her thoughts –What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. ~ Psalms 56:3
Breast cancer deaths have been on the decline since 1989 thanks to earlier detection through screening, increased awareness and improved treatment. The risk can be reduced by staying at a healthy weight, being physically active, and limiting alcohol intake, and regular screening can often find breast cancer early, when treatments are more likely to be successful.
“Wendy encourages other employees to have their annual wellness exam,” Teresa Henderson, Human Resources Manager of Magna Composites Lenoir, says. “She has a very positive attitude.”
Wendy adds, “I look at my life and how good I have it compared to other people in this world and I say I have nothing to complain about. I have been blessed!”