Pam Linville had just completed her fourth treatment of what she said was the “Big Four,” the ones that make you lose your hair. She said those treatments hadn’t done what they were supposed to do, so she was preparing to begin 12 treatments of one drug that would be done weekly.
“The chemo was not as bad as what I thought. I guess I was just lucky. It changes you,” said Linville.
Linville said she had always done regular screenings and annual mammograms.
“I had a mammogram in February and this came on me in May. I have had annual mammograms since I was old enough to have one. What happened was there was swelling and it felt like I had a fever in my breast,” said Linville, “Like I said, I had a mammogram in February and they saw something, which is not unusual because I have fibroid cysts, so I went back for a sonagram in March and they said there was something there, but they would do a follow-up in September. In the meantime, sometime in May, I made an appointment at clinic here because my breast started swelling and felt hot and it was changing in appearance. My brother was sick and passed away and I had to change the appointment until the next week. The physician’s assistant here started me on antibiotics, thinking maybe it was an infection or something, but then that didn’t work after seven days. We did it again, but in the meantime, she got me an appointment at the breast center in Charleston and when I went for my appointment on June 12, before I left that office, I had already had biopsies. On June 17, he called me with the news that I had cancer.”
Even though it was a lot for her to take in and it happened during a difficult time, Linville says she never once thought of it as a death sentence.
“It was shocking and devastating, but I kind of had a feeling when I saw it that there was definitely something wrong because it was something like I never saw before. It was like I woke up one morning and I had cancer. That’s what it was like. After the shock and crying, I had to decide who to tell. I live by myself. I was there by myself when I got the news and I thought, who do I call? I have three kids. I started with the oldest and went down the line. They knew I had the biopsies, I called them all when I was having it done.”
Linville has one daughter and two sons. Her daughter lives in Ohio, one son lives nearby and one son lives in Huntington.
She was assigned a team of doctors including an oncologist and a surgeon and they performed a series of tests to see what she needed and which treatments would work.
Even though she recognized it was nothing to lose her hair versus losing her life, it was a lot to take in all at once. But she said she has always had friends there with her to help.
She took her first treatment on July 1 and then one every three weeks. She said some were rougher than others, but she made it through.
After the new set of 12 treatments over the next 12 weeks, Linville will have surgery.
“I am electing to have both of them removed because I do not want to do this again,” she said.
Four weeks after surgery, Linville will undergo six weeks of radiation treatment and she is trusting that after that, she will be cancer free.
During the time she is having the radiation treatments, a friend, who will be driving her for the treatments and she will drive back and forth a few days a week, then stay with another friend they have who lives near Charleston a few days a week to break it up and give the three friends a good chance to visit.
Linville has a very positive outlook and she updates her Facebook page updated so all her friends will know how she is doing.
“I’m not going to be glum about it. You have to keep a good attitude about it. You have to get up every morning and be glad that you got up. You have to take a day at a time. Some days, I feel really bad and I don’t come out of the house. Other days, I feel great and I get out and do what I can do. I take it one day at a time.”
Linville works when she can. She’s been at her job at the State Farm office at Man for 26 years. She says everyone has been great to work with through this.
According to Linville, the fatigue is really bad, food has no taste and she has lost 25 pounds since she was diagnosed.
“It changes your body, it changes your mind, but it will be back. I’ve never looked at this as a death sentence—never. There’s only one thing that has ever beat me in life and that is swimming. I don’t need to swim. I’m sure not going to let this beat me and that’s the truth.”