Breast cancer survivor sees life differently after diagnosis

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April Munn, a breast cancer survivor and supporter of annual mammograms, poses in Florence. SC (Ardie Arvidson / The Morning News via AP)

PA

Devastating, shocking, frightening, unexpected and upsetting are words used to describe a cancer diagnosis. When April Munn was diagnosed in March 2020, she said it “stopped me dead”.

Even though Munn had discovered the lump in her right breast herself, she was not prepared for the news.

“I found the bump in January 2020,” she said. “I get regular mammograms.”

She said it didn’t show up in her previous mammogram.

“I was extremely surprised,” Munn said. “I have no family history of breast cancer. Cancer was not on my radar.

Munn said she couldn’t believe it.

“It took me a long time to process,” she said.

Munn was diagnosed with stage 3 triple negative breast cancer.

“I had a lumpectomy,” Munn said.

A lumpectomy is the surgical removal of part or “mass” of breast tissue in the treatment of a malignant tumor or breast cancer.

“My cancer responded very well to the chemotherapy,” Munn said. “I did chemo first and it made her shrink. Then I had 40 rounds of radiation.

She completed the radiotherapy treatments on December 23, 2020.

If a silver liner can be found in the worst of times, Munn said COIVD-19 was a blessing.

Munn said COVID-19 had just raised its ugly head when she found out she had cancer.

“I worked from home and was surrounded by my family,” she said.

Her son, a student at Columbia University in New York, was at home due to COVID. His daughter, a student at Trinity Collegiate, was also at home. Her son, Carson, is now a junior at Columbia and her daughter, Grace is a senior at Trinity.

Munn said her hair fell out during the treatment process and that she was grateful to be home.

“My son said I should walk past, so I shaved my head when my hair started to fall out,” Munn said.

He said she should go ahead and fight this cancer.

“I was treated very well at McLeod,” Munn said. “I’m very healthy and strong now and I feel great. “

Munn said her hair came back and at first it turned gray. Now it’s dark and curly.

“It’s different,” she said. “It’s not my hair. As a woman, we identify with our hair.

Munn said she was lucky not to be sick from the treatments.

“I had great pre-meds and never got sick,” she said.

Munn said one of her pre-treatment apprehensions was that she was throwing up a lot.

Munn said there were energy ups and downs.

She’s a stronger person now, Munn said.

“I feel like I’ve been given new life,” she said. “I am not so repressed; things don’t bother me as much as they used to. I am happy to be alive.

Munn said she couldn’t have done it without her children. She is a single mother.

“My kids were surprisingly stronger than me,” she said. “They were my rocks. They stayed strong for me. Having the support of your family is huge.

She said: “My community of friends have also supported me. Their love surrounded me. My faith is immense.

Munn said they were clinging to the fact that he had been told it was treatable. She said of course that you are still wondering what caused it, but you can’t dwell on it.

Munn is the Director of Admissions and the International Coordinator of Trinity Collegiate School. She has been working at the school for 10 years.

“I’m a girl from Texas,” she said.

She graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.

Munn said she came to Florence and raised her children there.

“It’s a great place,” she said.

Munn said she had been here long enough to call her home.

Munn said she doesn’t really have a hobby, but maybe now is a good time to find one.

“One of my passions is decorating and organizing,” she said. “I like to organize a closet.”

She sits on a board of directors at McLeod dedicated to raising funds for a mammography van that anyone can drive, a van that doesn’t require a CDL to drive. Training ends in October.

“I’m a huge fan of early detection and annual mammograms,” Munn said. “One in eight women has breast cancer. “

She said to look around at a table full of women and remember it. It could be you, a family member, or a friend who will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

“You just have to have mammograms,” she said. “Cancer is a scary thing.”

About Larry Fletcher

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