Breast Cancer Survivor

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Name: Kerry Stern Songy

Age: 58

Occupation: Retired School Counselor

Family: Donald Songy, husband

Meg and Adam LeBlanc, daughter and son-in-law; Bryan Songy, son; Elise Louise and Rosie Clare LeBlanc, granddaughters

Diagnosis date: September, 1992

Long-term outlook: Cancer free for 20 years! I have annual scans, x-rays, and blood work ordered by my favorite oncologist in the world, Dr. Gerald Milletello, whom follows my case with annual scans, x-rays, and blood work.

Advice for women who were recently diagnosed: Hearing the big "C" word can be very frightening at first. Allow yourself time to cry, but get busy gathering as much information as you can from more than one doctor. Write down questions you have beforehand in a notebook, and bring it with you to each appointment. Also, talk with as many women as you can who have experienced breast cancer. These women can be a source of good information, as well as a support system for you. You will discover that there are many "angels" in your life who will help you get through this experience. Let them spoil you! My husband, parents, relatives, and many friends were my angels with their continuing prayers and love, in addition to providing meals, cleaning house, and looking after my children.

Any other information you want to add? It is imperative that women receive their mammograms, the first one as early as possible. Early detection is what saved my life. Because my breast cancer was caught early, no cancer had spread to any of my lymph nodes. As a result, I did not need radiation or chemotherapy following my mastectomy. I am so lucky to be healthy today to enjoy my two beautiful granddaughters!