Breast Cancer Survivor: Attailie Goodard
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of this, we wanted to interview Breast Cancer survivors. We found two strong, lovely ladies who were willing to speak with us.
I went to her house, with interview questions in hand, not knowing how this was going to go. She welcomed me in with open arms, and was as friendly as can be. We went into her kitchen, and she looked over my questions and just began telling me everything. She was super open about all of it. Just sitting with her a couple of minutes I can tell she is a force to be reckoned with. She doesn't take anything lying down, and she told me she didn't let breast cancer take over her life. She was still going to work, raising her young daughter and running the household.
It was beyond inspiring to hear her talk about her experience and how she just lived her life as she would normally.
Attailie worked in the Montgomery Health Department for thirty years, and she said that they were her biggest support. She loves birds, taking care of the yard, singing in the choir and even taught Sunday School.
She said she was on vacation when she discovered the lump. When she went to get it checked out, she and the doctor were both fairly confident that it was just a cyst. The doctor was shocked to discover that it was in fact breast cancer. When he began telling Attailie about the troubling news, she of course just went into action and said let's get rid of it, "do what we need to do".
When I asked how she was feeling when she was first diagnosed she told me with a smile that "I wasn't even disappointed, I still have a life to live" She was diagnosed in August, and had her first surgery the week of Halloween. After only recovering three weeks, she was right back at work.
I then began asking her about her journey and what got her through this experience she began talking about how she was lucky that she had no bad experiences, she said for her it was all about "mind over matter", she had goals, and she didn't have the time to be sick. Working helped, and the health department were a huge help and support.
I asked her what advice she had for other women/men going through this, and she immediately said "don't look at it as a death sentence". She said if you find a lump go fix it, or if you find something that doesn't feel or seem right, go check it out. But the main thing to keep in mind is to Stay Positive.
For family members watching their loved ones go through this, just be supportive, if there is something they want to go do, don't tell them no, go with them and do it. Always have a positive attitude. If you're young, and you can, have the reconstruction surgery. Do genetic testing, be proactive.
"Life is too short, find something good about it. Keep going."
Attailie was diagnosed when she was thirty-three years old, she just turned sixty-nine.
I asked her what she wanted people to know about this experience and breast cancer in general. She told me about improvements continuously being made, gene therapy, all of the good results. She said do what you are supposed to do. And she said to not be scared. Have a good outlook, stay busy, and don't mope.
She told me a story about after her first session with chemo. Everyone was expecting her to feel sick, but once she was done and leaving the hospital, she said she wanted a chocolate frosty from Wendy's. I thought that story was so funny and showed me just how strong willed this woman is. I asked her about how her daughter was feeling when all this was happening. She told me her daughter was in first grade when everything happened. She said that her daughter doesn't really remember her being sick, because she never slowed down and never let her sickness take over.
After our interview I asked if I could take some photos of her and her husband. They both humored me by dragging them all over the house and yard, snapping photos of them. We even went to their F250 Ford truck that they bought here at Jenkins and Wynne to snap a couple of pictures.
Thank you so much to Attailie for allowing me to interview her. Also thank you to Terry for putting me in contact with this amazing woman!
I want to give a very special thank you to Sheryl Richardson, for donating Pink Jenkins and Wynne cups to these amazing women who shared their stories.
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Make sure to read about Mary Kurtz's story!