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By Jackie Zimmerman/The Hesperian-Beacon—
Pam Cathey Fulton knew she had a lump in her breast, she could feel it. But she thought it was nothing since she had no pain.
For nearly a year, Fulton, 55, knew of the lump. “I just let it alone. I thought it was because I was going through the change of life, and it was not bothering me. So, I did not think anything of it.”
However, in October 2019, Fulton realized the lump was getting larger, and the spot was tender and sore.
“I thought it was just a phase of menopause,” she said. “But then I felt like it was growing. It got sore, and I was feeling uncomfortable.”
So, Fulton texted her physician in Lockney, Dr. Sharie Moore, who immediately texted back saying Fulton needed to get it checked.
“She kind of when ballistic on the text with me,” Fulton laughed. “She told me ‘yes’ get it checked. She set me up with a mammogram the next week in Plainview.”
Following the mammogram, the physician required an ultrasound with a different physician.
“They were trying to pinpoint where it was,” Fulton said.
Following the ultrasound, Dr. Garvish called her into his office. “He sat down beside me and said, ‘I don’t ever like telling people this. I know this is cancer.’
“As soon as I got out of his office, I called Dr. Moore and I had an appointment with her that afternoon,” she said. “Then I came home and told my husband. And after we had our crying session, I jumped in the car to see Dr. Moore.”
Within a short time, Fulton had a biopsy done at UMC to verify the lump was cancer. Dr. Raham told her it was hormonal breast cancer, a low risk Type A and surgery was scheduled.
Fulton had surgery on Dec. 27, 2020 to remove the lump and some lymph nodes.
“They took some lymph nodes to make sure it did not spread. And the results showed it was completely contained in the one lump and had not spread.”
Following the surgery, Fulton went through three months of radiation. “They wanted to make sure they got it in case something was left, so we did the radiation. It started in January and ended March 6 – just before the shutdown (due to COVID-19).”
Today, Fulton is cancer free. She had a check-up in the summer and will have to do one every six months for two years. “The first mammogram was good.”
While she is cancer free, Fulton said she does not recommend anyone wait as long as she did to have a spot or a lump or any other type of possible problem checked by a doctor.
“My advice is to listen to your body,” she said. “If something seems different, then do not hesitate. I am probably one of the lucky ones. I hesitated and it was still cancer. But the outcome could have been worse.
“I think this was my wake-up call from higher up.”
The Floydada High School math teacher said she had kept the cancer diagnosis pretty quiet. She told her students since she was going to be out of school because of the surgery. And her co-workers knew. But she did not want anyone else to know.
However, Fulton is now telling her story in hopes she will encourage others who might think they have an issue to speak up and talk to their doctor.
“I felt like it was time. Maybe if I can help one person. If I put this out there, and post it, that maybe someone who sees it will want to go in and get something checked.
“It’s time for this to be said. I know I shocked a lot of people because they did not know what I was going through. But after going through it, and seeing everyone at the hospital, what I went through was nothing compared to what others are going through or have went through.
“I am extremely lucky, and how I was lucky, I don’t know. It was my wake-up call from God. He is telling me to let others know it can happen. You need to take care of yourself. Life your life to the fullest.”