This year, Crystal Bradbury suffered through too many encounters with breast cancer, too many times when the malady intruded into her life.
A Watkinsville resident, Bradbury stood by her sister’s side through her battle with breast cancer. But, when her sister, Kim Roe, died in August, the last thing Bradbury expected to have to do is fight her own battle.
A 37-year-old mother of three, Bradbury was diagnosed with cancer in June. She regularly did self-exams and one day found a small lump.
“It was a huge shock that we were not prepared for,” Bradbury said.
She had surgery to remove the lump in July. After the surgery she was cancer-free, but then she got test results back telling her there is a high risk her cancer could come back within 10 years.
The treatment to prevent that is chemotherapy and radiation.
“It was a no-brainer for me because I have three boys,” Bradbury said.
After receiving chemotherapy every three weeks since August, Bradbury received her final treatment last week.
“It was a huge feeling of relief and accomplishment to feel that inner strength you didn’t know you had,” Bradbury said.
She had to balance the treatments while still working two jobs. Bradbury said her employers at American Vision Center and at a Watkinsville asphalt company were understanding about her situation. They allowed her time off to recover from the treatments.
She still has eight weeks of radiation therapy to endure.
“You really don’t realize the strength and courage you have until you have to fight,” Bradbury said. “You have to fight back because something is trying to take your life.”
It’s a daily struggle for Bradbury to keep that strength and have faith that she’ll continue to beat the cancer.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time,” Bradbury said.
Now, Bradbury wants to tell her story to inspire awareness in others of their bodies. She recommends everyone start looking for signs of breast cancer early.
“I really want to help others be aware of their own bodies,” Bradbury said. “Also, I really hope we can raise more money for research for the cure, not just awareness.”
Follow reporter Hilary Butschek on Twitter @hilarylbutschek or at https://www.facebook.com/hbutschek.