Spruce Pine resident battles cancer
Delaine Strickland of Spruce Pine is one of the thousands of people fighting breast cancer.
Strickland said she had 2008 all planned out. She was going to turn 65 and she and her sisters were planning a cruise to celebrate.
"I was going to celebrate this year," Strickland said. "Turning 65 wasn't going to get me down."
However, her plans were changed in February when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I had a mammogram in 2007, and had another test done for another reason, and almost decided not to go in for my annual mammogram this last February," Strickland said. "But I decided to go on and have it done because I have always had them done yearly."
Strickland said as soon as her doctor told her she needed to get surgery, she knew she had breast cancer.
"At first, I teared up, but then I thought 'I'm not going to do this. I am going to fight,'" she said.
Strickland's fight began with a biopsy and, then, a lumpectomy.
"My lump as 1.4 centimeters so they were able to get it without a mastectomy," Strickland said.
Strickland's cancer was in the second stage when she was diagnosed. She took 16 chemotherapy treatments, and 35 radiation treatments now lay ahead of her.
"I just finished my chemo and will get a three-week vacation before beginning radiation," Strickland said.
She will go five days a week for seven weeks for radiation, and will take a pill for five years to help prevent the cancer from coming back.
"I had to have both chemo and radiation because of my family history," Strickland said.
Strickland has had six family member who were diagnosed with cancer, including one who had breast cancer.
"My grandmother had breast cancer and died because of it," she said. "I've not had to go through what they did. The medicine is so much better now."
Strickland said the worst thing about her treatments was being tired, and a bad taste in her mouth.
"I am lucky," she said. "I felt like I always had a penny in my mouth, and that's the worst thing."
Strickland attributes her success at beating cancer to her positive outlook.
"My advice to cancer patients is to not give up as soon as you hear the word cancer," Strickland said. "The medicine is so much better, and a positive outlook is so important."
Strickland said her good attitude and prayer has helped her through this ordeal. Her husband, Roy, was also a source of strength for her.
"I could not have made it through this without him," Strickland said. "He was absolutely the greatest help and the best thing that ever happened to me."
Once the radiation and the chemo are memory for Strickland, she plans to celebrate with a cruise.
"I am going on my cruise this year," she said.