By Leslie N. Dees
The Star Herald
“Here’s the lesson. You are suppose to have a yearly mammogram,” Dr. Betty Turner said. “You are supposed to do breast self-exams and you are supposed to go to the doctor and have a yearly exam. I wasn’t doing any of that.”
“I was a year and a half late on my mammogram,” the 55-year-old who was diagnosed with breast cancer in February.
“I wasn’t doing the breast self exams because I was in a big hurry to get to work,” she said.
It was the detection of her mother, Violet Hales,’ breast cancer and being prompted by her husband, Dr. Jackey Turner, that led her to get checked out.
“I had skipped my yearly appointment and I could have found it (the breast cancer) easily myself,” Turner said.
There was one spot in each breast.
She received the news on February 17 before work at Kosciusko Medical Clinic.
“My life stopped. I got the call,” she said. “They told me – ‘It’s positive. You have it.’ ”
And like the self-described trooper, Turner is, she went to work at KMC.
“I have not been back to work,” she said. “My life literally stopped that day.”
She and Jackey traveled to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for advice on treatment.
Turner said she had six months of big time chemotherapy that M.D. Anderson recommended following her double mastectomy.
“It’s not fun,” she said of the chemo.
“Now, we’ve got reconstruction to go,” she said. “Five years of pills and every three month of getting scans.”
Her hair and eyelashes and eyebrows fell out.
Nausea was not a problem thanks to medicine.
However, Turner said she does have some leg weakness and numbness in her hands and feet.
It will take several months before that will subside.
“I said I would put up with anything and I have,” she said. “I didn’t complain much.”
Supportive family and friends during the treatment process help her along, she said.
Her advice to those going through breast cancer.
“Do what the doctors’ tell you,” she said. “Have some cry buddies that you can cry with.”
She added to stay positive and surround yourself with positive people.
“I plan to get perfectly fine,” she said.
She said she plans to live to the old age of 93 and die of a heart attack during an Ole Miss football game.
“Because they sure do give me a lot of heart attacks,” she said of her Rebels.