MELISSA HOFFNER’S JOURNEY In March of 2015 I went to my primary care physician due to having stomach / bowel issues. My PA, Mrs. Rogers examined me and suggested I have a CAT scan just to be on the safe side. The scan showed a mass the size of a grape fruit growing out of my ovary. I went to my gynecologist and he recommended me see Dr. Miller at Levine Cancer Institute at CMC/NE. On April 25, 2015 I had surgery to remove the mass. On Saturday morning Dr. Miller came into my room and told me that I had ovarian cancer. As a 46 year old mother of two, to say I was shocked is an understatement. It was determined that my cancer was stage 3 since a small amount had spread to 4 of the 29 lymph nodes. We discussed treatment options and I was to have 6 chemo treatments spaced 3 weeks apart. I had my first chemo treatment in May 2015. Genetic testing then showed that I had a mutated BRCA 1 gene and this meant that I had a 90% chance of getting breast cancer. I was told it was not a matter of if, but when. In March of 2016 I had a bilateral mastectomy and the beginnings of breast reconstruction. This was a proactive step to reduce my chance of breast cancer to 10%. I had my final reconstruction surgery in July 2016 and now continue to see my doctors for follow up. I am extremely thankful for all the doctors and nurses who gave me such great care, for my church family and friends who held me up in prayer, and most of all for God who still holds me in his hands. He gives me strength, courage, and a positive attitude to help me thru each day.
SHIRLEY GRIFFIN’S JOURNEY In March of 2015 I had cataract surgery on my left eye, and in April 2015 cataract surgery on my right eye. I experienced major trouble after my right eye surgery. After several months of discomfort and vision getting progressively worse, I was seen by eye specialists at Cabarrus Eye Center. After several more months of treatments, my left eyelids began to harden. I was then scheduled for a CT scan and MRI in March 2016. The results were most definitely not what I expected as they informed me I had cancer. I was referred to Dr. Williams at Levine Cancer Center in Concord and started chemo in April 2016. I am scheduled to continue chemo treatments through September 2016. I feel that I have been blessed in many ways. The Lord picks us up when we are down. He surrounds us with love and healing which gives us the courage to face each day. I am so thankful for my church family and family members along with many friends that have come forward to help in so many ways. May God’s blessings be with everyone that has made a difference in my life as we continue to strive to move forward on this journey. We pray for strength and healing.