As a former transcriptionist in the medical field, Wanda Goins understood the importance of going for her annual mammogram. Although there was a lack of history with cancer in her family, working in women’s health taught Wanda that you should never pass up the chance of early diagnosis if something alarming shows up. In 2014, Wanda’s professional knowledge could have been the thing that saved her life. Two weeks post-scan, she was driving home from a beach trip to discover that her mammogram identified abnormal cells.
Upon returning home, Wanda attended her follow-up appointment where it was revealed she had in fact caught her breast cancer early. Her official diagnosis was determined to be stage zero “ductal carcinoma in situ,” which is considered to be the earliest stage of breast cancer normally presenting itself as unusual cells within the milk ducts of the breasts. While she caught the cancer at a rather premature stage of development, Wanda wanted the threat of any reoccurrence to be eliminated entirely. She believed that the best decision moving forward would be to opt for a double mastectomy.
Unlike multiple cases, Wanda’s additional experience in the field of plastic surgery allowed her to make an educated decision about whether or not she would choose to undergo reconstructive surgery. Due to what she had witnessed from other patients, she desired to go with the prosthesis route as opposed to receiving implants. Wanda fully recognizes how fortunate she was to discover her cancer at an early stage and does not take her luck for granted.
Wanda retired four years ago to care for her husband who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and claims that her professional positions put her in the perfect place to know how to care for herself and her husband. Life in remission has been one filled with adventure, as she is now able to cherish the gift of travel. Marilyn, her dear travel companion, coincidentally was diagnosed with the same condition as Wanda five years prior. Furthermore, Marilyn’s husband also endures Parkinson’s. Their ability to relate to one another has created a powerful bond that not only offers each of them support when hurdling challenges but also a friendship focused on celebrating life together.
While Wanda’s diagnosis was identified at a low stage, her story sends a powerful message about early detection and its capacity to send you down the path of life.