Woman loses son, father, receives breast cancer diagnosis

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News 5 is recognizing breast cancer survivors, all day in every newscast.

Chandra Barnes knows pain and loss all too well. She lost her son when he was 14, and her father just 3 years ago. She was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer on August 22, 2018. She says at times, she felt like she was losing herself, but she credits her optimistic attitude and faith with helping her beat cancer.

Barnes says she gets regular screenings but knew something didn’t feel right before it was time for her annual mammogram.

She said, “I fell asleep, and I woke up around 1:00 I got ready to turn over from my left side and when I got ready to turn back over on my back, it was so heavy. I couldn’t hardly turn over.”

Barnes has been a nursing assistant for 19 years and has taken care of cancer patients. So she tells Cherish Lombard she had a pretty good idea of what was going on, and went to see her doctor.

Barnes said, “She felt back there and when she felt she said, “Chandra.” I said, “I know.”

She says the next thing she knew, she was going to see an oncologist, explaining, “I heard her on the telephone. She said, “somebody’s gotta get her in today.”

A biopsy confirmed stage 3 breast cancer.

Barnes recalled, “I got in my car and as I was driving in the car tears were running down my face and I’m saying, “Stage 3. Wow. How am I going to get through this?'”

Because of the aggressiveness, she bypassed radiation and went straight to chemotherapy. For her, the treatment was the hardest part.

“Cherish when you walk in and you look around and you see IV poles and you see the people sitting in there and you’re looking and you’re saying, “Wow, God this is a lot,” Barnes said.

She says that’s why it’s so important to have people to lean on. For her, it was her mother and the staff at Southern Cancer Center.

“They came over and hugged my neck and said, we’re going to fight this, you’re going to get through this. Just rely on us, we’re going to get through this. And that’s what we did,” Barnes told News 5.

Chandra started chemotherapy on October 9, 2018.

“I’ll never forget it,” she said. “And we completed it March 12th. And then after the chemo they told me that, they said okay, it’s in the lymph nodes, we’ve still got to have surgery. We can remove that or we can have a mastectomy.”

She chose to have a mastectomy.

Chandra says when things got really tough for her, she thought of her father.

“Before he passed he sat down to talk to me about different things and about life and how he loved family. And I love my family too, as well. That was the main thing too that got me through this. And the one thing he always said was take care of your mama. That was the things that I really, stuck and said, I’m going to fight this, I’m going to beat this. I’m going to get through this. I’m going to do this. And I won that fight,” she said.

She says she also believes laughter helped her beat cancer. As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine.

You can get in touch with doctors at Southern Cancer Center online at https://www.southerncancercenter.com/

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