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Sandra Overton: Fighting Fear, Finding Positivity

“I can’t say it enough, having a good outlook and a positive attitude makes all the difference.” (Sandra Overton pictured, fourth from left, with her co-workers)

Sandra Overton
Lung Cancer

When 72-year-old Sandra Overton learned she had lung cancer, she made herself a promise: she would not let cancer get her down.

Sandra’s attitude helped her navigate her disease with strength and positivity. Throughout her cancer journey, Sandra successfully fought off the negative thoughts, allowing her to live life on her own terms.

Choosing Positivity in the Midst of Uncertainty 

Sandra first noticed something was off when she began experiencing shortness of breath. After visiting her general practitioner, Sandra saw an asthma doctor, ENT specialist, and pulmonologist to determine what was wrong. A series of tests, X-rays, and a biopsy revealed her diagnosis – lung cancer.

Sandra was diagnosed with stage III non-small cell lung cancer in April 2018. After months of tests, it wasn’t the news Sandra had hoped to hear. However, her mental strength helped her combat any negative thoughts.

“I was initially in shock, but I wasn’t going to let myself get upset. I wasn’t going to let the cancer get me down.”

This mentality became Sandra’s mantra, and paved a path of positivity throughout her treatment.

Smiling Through Treatments

Under the care of medical oncologist Akbar Rizvi, M.D., of  Texas Oncology–McKinney South and radiation oncologist Anand Shivnani, M.D., of Texas Oncology–McKinney, Sandra started seven weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation therapy. After finishing the treatments, Sandra started immunotherapy to target remaining cancer cells.

“Throughout Sandra’s treatment, I don’t think I heard her complain once,” Dr. Shivnani said. “Even though treatment can be tough, Sandra always managed to see the good in every situation. It’s important for patients to know that their mindset also plays an important role in their cancer journey.”

Although Sandra did not have much pain during treatment, she experienced some difficulty eating and breathing, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

Like other aspects of her cancer, Sandra managed her side effects with her positive attitude. She continued to work fulltime without missing a beat, even working from home on days she had treatment.

“People at work were amazing,” Sandra said. “They would say ‘you come in with a smile on your face every day, how can you do that?’ I’d tell them, ‘it’s because I’m going to beat this.’”

Sandra’s mentality never wavered. She stressed the importance of having a positive perspective and how maintaining it gave her a way to handle her disease.

“I can’t say it enough, having a good outlook and a positive attitude makes all the difference,” Sandra said.

The information included in this testimonial is based on one patient’s unique experience and is not intended to represent all patient outcomes or expectations.