During Breast Cancer Awareness Month of 2019, Connie Kelly of Mooreville celebrated the completion of her treatment for breast cancer. In June 2018, Connie turned 40 years old and had her first routine mammogram, which was normal. In September, she was doing her monthly self-exam and found a lump. She called her provider the next day and was seen in the clinic by a nurse practitioner, who sent her directly to the NMMC Breast Care Center for repeat scans. She had a biopsy the next day, and was later diagnosed with stage 2 invasive breast cancer. She started her treatment with six “big rounds” of chemotherapy, she said, followed by a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. Since, she’s been having chemotherapy every three weeks.
“I have had an excellent team of physicians,” she said of the care provided at NMMC. “I am thankful for their knowledge, experience and compassion. The entire team meets about every case and discusses every patient’s treatment. You can tell they coordinate the care because everything fell into place for me within a week of diagnosis.”
While she has struggled with some side effects and complications, she says her team of providers works together to help her manage them.
“Going through cancer has been difficult, but everybody – the doctors, nurses, receptionists and everyone else has made it easier than it could have been,” she said. “God placed them here to help people like me be successful.”
Beyond her treatment team, Connie says she leans heavily on her church family and her faith. “I spent a lot of time in prayer and with God,” she said.
Her church, Boguefala Baptist Church in Mooreville, was in revival when she was diagnosed. “The message was so on point for what I was going through,” she said. “This all happened in God’s timing.”
In addition, Connie’s husband, Barry, had a job change just before her diagnosis. “This led to me being able to be more available for her,” he said. “I have been able to be here for her treatments and appointments that I wouldn’t have been able to make before.” He works as the manager at the NMMC Patient Logistics Center.
Connie, who works in case management at NMMC, says she is thankful for the support and flexibility of her work family, which has enabled her to continue working full time throughout the course of her treatment.
Connie encourages women to be proactive in getting their yearly screenings and doing monthly self-exams. “I can’t stress enough the importance of self-exams,” she said. “I could have continued to ignore my lump because of a false sense of security after a normal mammogram. We have to be proactive with our health and listen to our bodies.”
She has three children – a 20-year-old daughter who attends school at Ole Miss, an 18-year-old son who is a freshman at ICC, and an 8-year-old son, who she says is her “little prayer warrior.”