Fighting for the Future
Ann Goldsmith is a fighter who knows her body well. A year and a half ago, she was having pains in her breast, yet a mammogram and ultrasound found nothing wrong.
As the pain persisted, Ann returned to her doctor. They couldn’t feel anything unusual, so she was sent home again. Then, nearly a year ago, she felt a lump under her right arm. Another ultra sound was done but this time, she also had a biopsy of the area.
In June of 2017, while at Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Ann was given the devastating diagnosis of Stage 2 Triple negative breast cancer–an aggressive, rare form of cancer with a propensity for spreading outside the breast and a survival rate of less than 5 years.
While receiving chemotherapy treatment at Cape Fear Valley Hospital near her hometown of Fayetteville, Ann decided to actively find health solutions. She began researching treatment options and was eventually referred to three renowned breast cancer specialists at UNC-Chapel Hill: Dr. Lisa Carey (a triple negative breast cancer specialist and the Physician-In-Chief of the NC Cancer Hospital), Dr. Kristalyn Gallagher (a surgical oncologist), and Dr. Michele Roughton (a plastic reconstructive surgeon).
After her surgery to remove the cancerous cells, Ann received radiation treatments and started taking drugs that would hopefully slow the growth of cancer cells as well as decrease the chance of the cancer from returning.
While Ann received treatment at UNC Hospitals, she was a guest at SECU Family House for several weeks. She shared that what she experienced here helped her to endure the arduous treatments. In addition to receiving lots of emotional support from our volunteers and staff, being around other guests going through similar situations enabled her to get through her own ordeal. She shares with us that “staying here allows me to rest without worrying about daily chores like preparing meals. It’s truly a blessing to be here.”
We wish this retired cartographer all the best. We’ve got a feeling that the fighter in her will indeed beat the odds and return to what she enjoys doing most: volunteering with breast cancer support groups.