By Lena Mitchell
Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
WALNUT – Carol Porterfield’s breast cancer journey began in late 2010 when she found three small bumps in her right breast.
Within several months those three bumps had grown to dozens of what were revealed to be calcium deposits, and she was scheduled for surgery Jan. 6, 2011.
“There were so many, they had to do a mastectomy,” Porterfield said.
Examination of those calcium deposits found microscopic cancer cells, but there were no signs of cancer in the lymph nodes removed and examined at that time. Doctors determined no radiation or chemotherapy treatments were warranted.
“A year-and-a-half later I was examining myself and found a small lump on my surgery scar,” Porterfield said. “I told Richard (her husband), my cancer’s come back.”
During her regular follow-up appointment scheduled with the surgeon less than a week later, he zeroed in on the bump immediately.
“He was shocked,” she said. “It was the same cancer as before.”
Porterfield had a PET scan that found no “hot spots,” but additional surgery removed all residual tissue, scraped the bones and took 10 lymph nodes, with no further cancer found in the lymph nodes.
“I began a round of radiation in December 2012, then started chemo on Dec. 27,” Porterfield said.
She’ll have completed two rounds of chemotherapy this time when her treatments are completed. She receives ongoing chemo treatments now every three weeks, a milder formulation that she had when the treatments began in December.
Her hair is growing back in an attractive style that looks like a pixie cut many women pay their stylists to achieve.
Porterfield said she hasn’t been brave enough to go out in public without her wig yet, and usually wears one of the two wigs her Friendship Sunday School class at Harmony Baptist Church in Walnut bought for her.
“I don’t know what I would have done through all of this without the great support system I have,” I have a great husband and my family, friends and church have been right there for me.”
Porterfield’s husband Richard, a retired truck driver for UPS, has been able to be home with her through these health crises. Their daughter, Sandra Waller, also lives in Walnut and their son, Travis Porterfield, lives next door.
“They have been so good to me, and I never wanted them to see me down,” she said. “I never did cry except one time I was eating a BLT and couldn’t stop coughing. The medicine makes you cough and cough, and I thought, ‘I’m so sick of being sick.’ But I mostly hold it together.”