Woman continues 17-year fight with breast cancer

Baldwin County

Lynn Rone is a survivor, and an inspiration. She’s been battling breast cancer for the past 17 years, and she’s not giving up even though she knows it’s a battle she’ll never win.

Cancer has taken her on a rollercoaster ride, first finding it in her breast, then thinking she was cured, and finding cancer in her other breast, and later, her bones, then, her liver, then back to her bones.

She was only 41 with 4 children when she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Her youngest son was 2.

She said, “I actually found the lump myself. And I had never done a self-breast exam before.”

She says fate made her perform a breast exam one night after work.

“I clean houses for a living and I cleaned my sister-in-law’s house that day and she had one of the cards hanging up in her shower on how to do a self-breast exam,” she explained.

The lump was almost 2 centimeters.

“I had 4 chemo treatments and we did radiation. I was scheduled for 36 radiation treatments and after my 18th treatment, I found a lump in my other breast. And that was kind of unheard of,” said Rone.

She says it didn’t show up on her mammogram. After a biopsy showed that tumor was also malignant, she had a double mastectomy. Eight years later, she found out cancer spread to her bones.

“My family thought I was exaggerating the pain. I wasn’t, at all,” she said.

After more treatment, Lynn went into remission once again. Then her doctor told her cancer spread to her liver. More treatment, but it wouldn’t be the last of it.

“He got my liver clear and then my bones progressed again,” Rone told Cherish Lombard.

She says at first, she didn’t know how to feel.

“When you go to stage 4 and they say you know, you’re going to be on treatment for the rest of your life, it’s traumatizing,” she said.

But she does know, she wants to live for her family.

She said, “I have 9 beautiful grandchildren and my kids of course.”

One of them who happens to be the executive director for Southern Cancer Center.

“She’s been my stepmom since I was 3 so I don’t really know my life without her,” said Lauren Pettis.

Pettis says talking about cancer with your family is one of the toughest things to do.

She said, “As a health care professional, we’re semi-used to having that conversation with our patients because it comes up and you want to answer honestly and provide them whatever kind of guidance you can. It’s different when it’s your family. It doesn’t change the conversation but it hits closer to home and it brings in a personal element that is not necessarily there at work.”

She encourages families to open up to each other and give each other strength.

Lynn accepts that she’ll never ring a bell marking the end of her cancer treatment, and that cancer is something she’ll have to live with, for the rest of her life.

“I feel like I’m a survivor because I’m still going through treatments, I’ve been going through treatments off and on for 17 years, and I’m not cancer-free and I will never be cancer-free. I will always have to have treatment for the rest of my life, so I’m a surviving cancer patient,” she told News 5.

And Lynn will continue to fight. Lynn is a survivor.

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