Gladys Beason was in her early 60s when she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2003.
“I went to the hospital because I felt sick and I had a cold that wouldn’t seem to go away,” Gladys said. “I found out I had pneumonia, but they also found a lump in my breast.”
After some testing, Gladys’ doctor told her that she had breast cancer. “I almost fainted when I heard the news initially,” Gladys said. “It was a total shock. I really started to ask ‘why me?’ but then I started to realize ‘well, why not me?’ and that’s when I knew I had to get serious about taking care of myself.”
Gladys’ doctor, Dr. Catherine Heltsley, began her treatment plan, which included six rounds of chemotherapy at The Medical Center in Bowling Green. At the end of the treatments, Gladys was tested, and there was no sign of the cancer in her body and she is currently cancer-free.
How did the chemotherapy affect you?
I had chemotherapy treatment every three weeks. I really started to feel sick after the second treatment and that continued for the rest of the treatments. It would usually take me a few days to recover and feel better after chemotherapy.
I am a beautician, so I did have to stop working for sometime after I was diagnosed, but I got back to work as fast as I could because it is what I love to do, even now.
What did you do to try and feel your best?
I ate lots of protein and veggies to help me feel the best I possibly could. I also tried to still go on walks and tried to keep my daily routine, like going to the store, to help keep my strength up.
I also tried to make sure to get rest to help my body recover. And most importantly, I have God in my life, so I took time to pray.
What were some other side effects of the chemotherapy?
I did eventually lose my hair and when it finally did happen, it was so strange, even though I knew it was a possibility. My doctor said I might lose my hair, but you never think it will happen to you. One day, after my third treatment, I looked at myself in the mirror and part of my hair was gone. It was then that I decided to go ahead and shave the rest of my head. I decided to start wearing wigs and also a cap for the rest of my treatment.
Who were your biggest supporters during your cancer treatment?
My daughter, Sheila, and my granddaughter, Malika, helped me in so many ways. I also had lots of support from my sister, Lucy, as well as lots of other family members and friends and people from my church, 7th Street Baptist Church.
What advice would you have for women who have never gone through a cancer diagnosis?
Make doctor’s visits a priority and make sure you go get your mammograms and pap smears. Make your health a priority.
What do you appreciate more now that you’ve gone through cancer?
I know that God is God and I know God is good. I’m so thankful for my family, friends, church and my pastor. I’m blessed.