Two mammograms and an ultrasound had come back inconclusively, and she was scheduled for a biopsy in early January.
“It was constant worry,” Thompson said. “I didn’t really enjoy the holidays.”
This year, with breast cancer hopefully forever in her past, she is facing both holidays with renewed confidence and relief.
“I look forward to 2018 being back to normal,” she said.
Thompson, 45, is a process control manager for Synchrony Financial in Jackson Township, where she has been employed for 23 years. She is tested annually by a mobile mammography unit that comes to her workplace.
A Canton native, Thompson graduated from Washington High School in Massillon, where she now lives. She and her husband of eight years, Weldon, have three children. She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
After her last mammogram, Thompson got the dreaded call.
“It was Friday the 13th of January (2017) when I got the call. They found a little bit of cancer in my breast. I was like a deer in the headlights. It hits you like a ton of bricks. Now I had to decide what to do. I’m not good at making big decisions. There was a lot of prayer and a lot of asking questions.”
Thompson decided a mastectomy was the right next step for her.
“Even though the tumor was small, I decided to have a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy. I’d be getting a mammogram or MRI every six months, and I felt like it was going to bring back all those worries. For my piece of mind, I’ve opted to have another mastectomy, which lowers my risk.”
Since the breast cancer was caught early, the tumor didn’t have time to develop, making the process a little smoother.
“I feel fortunate. The cancer was detected early, and the tumor was small. I’ve not had to have chemotherapy. I’m on hormone therapy, and the only side effect is hot flashes. I try to stay active. A month after surgery, I was OK’d to go back to the gym. That helps me mentally as well as physically. It’s a stress reliever.”
Another aid in her breast cancer journey has been her husband.
“My husband, bless his heart, was my nursemaid. He took care of me with my medications and wasn’t afraid to do the draws.”
Thompson also received a lot of support from her doctors and the nursing staff at Mercy Medical Center.
“Between my doctors (Dr. Russell Ramey, general surgeon, and Dr. Michael McCormick, plastic surgeon) and nurse navigator (Diane Wofsey), any questions I’ve had I’ve been able to call and get answers. Everyone is so helpful and supportive.”
On top of that, Thompson goes to a breast cancer support group at Mercy. It has taken time for her to feel good about her decision to have a double mastectomy. The whole experience has helped Thompson realize just how strong she is.
“There is hope. You don’t realize how much strength you can be given until you go through something like this. Sometimes I feel guilty that my prognosis is so good. I’ve felt the Lord’s presence through the whole process.”