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One Step at a Time

Publication: Hood County News, Granbury

“That’s when I retired my right boob,” she said with a laugh.

Her matter-of-fact approach kept her strong through cancer treatments after doctors removed the cancer in her breast and 20 lymph nodes – nine that were cancerous.

Chemotherapy and radiation followed.

“I didn’t know what to expect. I just looked at each treatment as another step in the process to become cancer-free,” said Vaughan, 59.

“If there was a side effect, I got it,” she said with a laugh. “I was the poster child for side effects.”

The Granbury resident had mouth sores and couldn’t eat. She had a skin rash, severe constipation, fatigue, nail discoloration, and shingles.

She couldn’t remember things. “They call it ‘chemo brain,’” Vaughan said.

Her bones and muscles hurt, and she lost her hair.

“One good thing, you don’t have to shave your legs,” she said on a humorous note. “The thing I missed the most was my nose hair. It keeps things from falling out of your nose!”

A FEELING THAT SOMETHING’S WRONG

Vaughan had regular mammograms and had noticed lumps before.

“At first I thought it was just another cyst,” she said of the lump she noticed.

It’s not uncommon to have fibrocystic breasts. More than half of women experience fibrocystic breast changes at some point in their lives.

But this one was not the same.

“I started to get the feeling that this one was different,” Vaughan explained.

After abnormalities on her mammogram, she had a biopsy.

On Nov. 12, 2012 she was diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer (meaning the cancer had spread), and began the journey through surgery and treatment.

In October 2013, she was declared cancer free.

Vaughan has been involved with Relay For Life and was co-director at one time. She helped start a support group, and now spends time taking care of her mom, who is bedridden.

Retired, Vaughan previously worked as a Realtor in various cities, and as a real estate assistant in Granbury.

These days she enjoys perusing garage sales, woodworking and spending time in the garage.

“I like to take different things and turn them in to something else,” she said. “It’s something that I can do at home while taking care of Mom.”

She added, “I’m good at buying and selling. Mostly buying!”

ATTITUDE MAKES A DIFFERENCE

“I truly believe that a positive attitude has helped me get through this. Your mental attitude gets you through a lot,” she said.

Vaughan was a little nervous to share her story.

“I just want to show my support for the many other survivors and their families that have to go through this devastating disease,” Vaughan said. “There are so many other victims that were, and are, much worse than myself, and I hope that I keep raising awareness.”

Vaughan received treatments locally at Texas Oncology, and praises Dr. D’Spain, Rhonna Oriti and the team for “saving my butt.”

For those who sense that something is not quite right, Vaughan has some advice.

“Listen to your body. It will tell you when something is going on. That helped me,” Vaughan said.

“If you have the feeling that something is not right, check with your doctor. And stay positive.”

Read the full story from the Hood County News.

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