By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
After facing their own battles with breast cancer, two local women are hoping others can learn from their stories.
Linda Krondon, 63, of Bluefield, was diagnosed with breast cancer 13 years ago.
“I was diagnosed on Feb. 8, 1999, which was the day before I turned 50,” Krondon said. “My mammogram hadn’t shown it, but I felt something and decided to go in for another exam. My doctor did a biopsy and told me that it was malignant. I asked him if that meant I had cancer, and he said yes.”
Krondon said her diagnosis helped her appreciate life even more.
“It’s something you never expect to hear,” she said. “No words can describe how it feels to hear that. Cancer is a word you never want to hear your doctor say. It is a devastating shock, but you also realize how special each day is. Each day since has been a blessing. It makes me so grateful to be alive. I celebrate the day I got my second chance at life more than my birthday.”
Luckily, Krondon said her doctors had found her cancer early.
“I lost my mother to breast cancer, and they had learned so much since then,” Krondon said. “They found my cancer early enough that I didn’t have to go through treatment. They just had to do surgery.”
Krondon said her best advice to other women is to do regular self-exams.
“The best way to prevent this is to get your regular checkups and do your monthly self-exams,” she said. “Set aside one day every month to do these exams. You know your body better than anyone else. The main thing is to check yourself. Women also need to talk to their mothers, sisters and daughters about this and remind them to do their exams as well.”
Nancy Roten, 60, of Bluefield, Va., just recently celebrated one year of being cancer free.
“I was diagnosed on June 30, 2011,” Roten said. “I found the lump myself in April and by the time I got to the specialist, it had grown. I had chemo, radiation and surgery. I had a lumpectomy on Oct. 20, 2011 because the cancer had spread, so I just celebrated my one-year anniversary.”
Roten said she did not know what to expect, though there was a history of breast cancer in her family.
“My mother and two of her sisters had it, but I was told I didn’t carry the gene,” Roten said. “The hardest thing was not knowing what to expect. I lost my hair and everything with the treatments. Of course, the treatments and medicines are so much better than when my mother was diagnosed 15 years ago. It was scary not knowing.”
A large network of supporters helped Roten get through her treatment.
“My friends, family and husband were all very supportive,” she said. “Many people on Facebook kept letting me know how much they supported me. I also had a grandson born during that time, which gave me even more motivation.”
Though she has completed treatments, Roten said she still has frequent check-ups to make sure she is doing well post-cancer.
“Cancer is a scary experience, but you don’t have a choice,” she said. “You just do what your doctors tell you, pray for the best, and let God take his course.”
— Contact Kate Coil at firstname.lastname@example.org=