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franklin county times

Emotional week for cancer survivor

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
The first week of March is always a difficult one for cancer survivor Pat Montgomery.
During the week leading to Relay for Life, she thinks about all the others who, unlike herself, lost their battle with cancer.
"There were so many who were diagnosed around the same time as me," Montgomery said tearfully. "And so many of them did not make it."
She was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 1992, six months after first noticing a knot in her breast.
"I noticed the knot in May, but I thought it was just a fibroid cyst," said the mother of two. "All of my friends thought so too. I didn't go to the doctor right then. I put it off."
She said that she told herself it was nothing, and she did not want to change summer plans she had made with her family.
"That is a no-no," Montgomery said. "Don't self-diagnose or let a friend tell you that it's nothing. Self diagnosing or friend diagnosing can kill you."
Montgomery began to have physical symptoms that something was wrong and decided to go to the doctor.
"My doctor knew right away I had cancer because of an indentation in my breast," she said.
She was able to see the surgeon the same day she received her diagnosis because of the weather being bad. The next day, she had her biopsy, and was scheduled for surgery the next week.
"I went to see my plastic surgeon on Monday and Tuesday, and I had my surgery on Friday, Nov. 13," Montgomery said. "I knew I was going to be OK because I knew that what my doctor was taking out of me, my plastic surgeon could put back. Knowing that is what got me through it."
Montgomery had a partial mastectomy and had six months of chemotherapy.
"I had chemo on every third Friday. On Saturday, I'd have a headache or get a little sick and on Sunday, I went to church and I'd be back at work by Monday," she said. "I was so blessed because I didn't go through what a lot of other people went through with chemo."
Montgomery attended her first Relay in 1994, and in 1995, Relay for Life was born in Franklin County.
"Since Relay began, more money has been raised for research and there are more survivors," she said.
"Cancer is no longer the death sentence it used to be."