Rosa Survives Breast Cancer - Twice
When Rosa Pennington was diagnosed with breast cancer, like most people in her situation, she was surprised. But her experience at the Cone Health Cancer Center at Alamance Regional Medical Center turned out to be one of the most positive experiences of her life. "I've had a journey, but I can't say it's been a bad journey. You have cancer. That’s not something anybody would want to hear. But I can say through the journey, I’ve met people I wouldn’t have otherwise," said Pennington. “I’ve formed bonds with the doctors, nurses and other survivors."
At 58-years old, she was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer and had a tumor removed. I’d been told the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and bloodstream. She felt a lump, visited Dr. Janak Choksi, medical oncologist, and was immediately scheduled for surgery along with chemotherapy and radiation treatment. “He has such a good knowledge of the latest medical technology and medications to be administered for the type of cancer that you have. I would put his knowledge up against anybody on the east coast. He knows ahead of time what to expect as far as what my future is going to be,” said Pennington of Choksi. After her treatment, she joined the Wings to Recovery Program at Alamance Regional as a mentor and also volunteered in the cancer center to help patients during treatment. She says it was through support groups like this that helped her get through the difficult days. Pennington was even given her first chemotherapy treatment by Rosa Davis, R.N., founder of the Wings to Recovery Program.
In 2012, she was diagnosed again with breast cancer, this time in the left breast. Through her strong faith and previous experience at the cancer center she knew what to expect and that she would be okay. She had been through it all before with the team at Alamance Regional. “I started my last round of chemo at the old cancer center, and to me that was like going home. That was like a good comfort for me. I knew everybody and it was like seeing my old friends.” She finished up her treatment at the new facility that opened in January. “That was a good feeling also in that you walk in and you said wow. You felt like you were going into some exclusive treatment area. I think it's amazing how they laid it out and decorated it,” said Pennington.
About three weeks ago, she completed her final chemotherapy treatment. “I don’t know of any other facility that would spend hours with me discussing cancer and how it acts and the kinds of treatments that I would have to choose from.” Pennington plans to continue mentoring newly diagnosed patients through the Wings to Recovery program. She hopes to help relieve anxiety of the unknown that comes with diagnosis and treatment.